Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winter interlude.

I know it’s going to be a long winter when I start immersing myself in travel books and it’s not even officially, winter yet.

A Walk in London by Salvatore Rubbino is a travel book that gives us a child’s eye-view while exploring London’s city centre, visiting many well-known landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben bell and clock tower, Trafalgar Square, Convent Garden, St. Paul’s Cathedral, plus many more sights.

Each slightly oversized 2-page spread is filled with details of each location with additional quirky, sometimes random, bits of information scattered across them.  For instance did you know that St. Paul’s Cathedral’s dome weighs about 64,000 tons? Or, that every year in Britain, 300 million fish and chips dinners are eaten? Or, that Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms? Or, that double-decker buses have been in use since the 1930s?  These factoids help us learn more about London. But for our young narrator it’s all about talking with the pelicans at St. James Park, sitting on the lions in Trafalgar Square, and enjoying the street entertainers in Convent Garden. A ferry ride down the Thames gets a 4-page pull out that gives us a panoramic view of the shore line the further orientates us with the sights to be found between the Tower of London and the Palace of Westminster, such as the Globe Theatre and the London Eye.  If you check the front and end pages you will be able to name the bridges you seen in the fold out.  Good for mapping skills and geographic thinking.

The illustrations are done in mixed-media with a fairly muted palette that conveys a very retro-style.  It reminds me of old travel posters from the 1950s and 60s.

This is a fun exploration of a wonderful city. This is exactly how the book comes across: when in London, there is a lot to see, do and enjoy.  Our narrator and her mother have a very busy, full day as they travel around the heart of London and I'm glad I was able to join them.  Any respite from winter is welcomed.

Recommended for grades 1-4.


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