________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 34 . . . . May 7, 2010

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Life in a Commercial City. (Learn About Urban Life).

Trudee Romanek.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-7401-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-7391-7 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
City and town life-Juvenile literature.
Central business districts-Juvenile literature.
New York (N.Y.)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-4 / Ages 8-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
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Life in an Industrial City. (Learn About Urban Life).

Lizann Flatt.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-7402-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-7392-4 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
City and town life-Juvenile literature.
Industrial sites-Juvenile literature.
Company towns-Juvenile literature.
Houston (Tex.)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-4 / Ages 8-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
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Life in a Residential City. (Learn About Urban Life).

Hélène Boudreau.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-7403-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-7393-1 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
City and town life-Juvenile literature.
Housing-Juvenile literature.
Toronto (Ont.)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-4 / Ages 8-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
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Life in a Suburban City. (Learn About Urban Life).

Lizann Flatt.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-7404-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-7394-8 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
City and town life-Juvenile literature.
Suburban life-Juvenile literature.
Los Angeles Suburban Area (Calif.)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-4 / Ages 8-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

excerpt:

New York office workers work long days. Most are at their desks by 9:00 a.m. They start by reading email and other messages and looking at their schedules for the day. They work in groups or alone. Most office workers take coffee breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon and use that time to have meetings with other workers. (From Life in a Commercial City.)

 

Designed to teach readers about the similarities and differences between various types of cities, the four titles in the new “Learn About Urban Life” series provide general information about why cities spring up where they do, the needs of their residents (e.g. goods and services) and zoning. They contain basically the same information in the first few pages (actually almost the first third of the book)- paraphrased text providing definitions and descriptions of rural, urban and suburban areas as well as information about transportation, resources, energy and population. Then each title focuses on a different North American city, providing a very brief history of the city and showing how people live, work, and spend their leisure time. Issues specific to the featured city are discussed, one example being Houston’s emergency preparedness in case of hurricanes, tropical storms, or industrial accidents due to the release of toxic fumes from refineries and chemical plants. Other topics include celebrations throughout the year and places to visit.

     Unfortunately, the authors have chosen all large centers with little variation. Consequently, there is not much to be learned from reading the entire series. The books start to sound very much the same. Text is printed in a large, simple font, with only one or two paragraphs on a page, while illustrations consist of colour photographs and the occasional drawing. There is a facts and figures page at the back of the book which provides a very rudimentary map and three facts about the city. A table of contents, an index, a glossary and a list of books and web sites for further study are included.

     Life in a Commercial City highlights the district of Manhattan in New York City. It is in this commercial zone that banks, insurance companies, the New York Stock Exchange, garment and fashion-related companies, restaurants and entertainment centres do business. Topics in this book include some of the problems inherent in living in a big city (one example being commuting to work) and issues such as recycling, energy, and homelessness.

     In Life in an Industrial City, Houston, TX, is featured. With more than 5,000 energy-related companies, Houston is the energy capital of the world. Its location on a harbour is perfect for transporting goods all around the globe, and a network of highways, railroad lines and two major airports distribute goods within North America.

     The spotlight is on Toronto in Life in a Residential City. Canada’s largest city and one of the most multicultural in the world, Toronto is located on Lake Ontario. Its residents enjoy many professional sports teams, theatres, restaurants and cultural events. As can be expected in a large city, getting around can be a problem, and Toronto boasts many modes of transportation- buses, cars, subways, trains, streetcars, and even a ferry.

     The second-largest American city is featured in Life in a Suburban City. Los Angeles’ four million residents live and work in several suburbs, but the sprawling city is quickly running out of room for its expanding population. Some practical solutions include the conversion of empty office buildings into residences and old railroad yards into green space.

     Though every city described in these titles has its own unique characteristics, it is not necessary to purchase the entire series in order to get the gist of the topic.

Recommended with reservations.

Gail Hamilton is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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