CM . . . .
Volume V Number 10 . . . . January 15, 1999
A siren screams in the night. An ambulance with flashing lights races around the corner and stops in front of the Emergency Department entrance.City at Night is a book for children about the world that most children don't see until they are older. It's a glimpse of four different major cities - New York, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver after hours. It's a photographic essay that advances as the clock ticks away until morning, and it chronicles the world of the night worker, people who are sometimes unseen and taken for granted, but who make it possible for the rest of the world to survive and function the next day.
The different types of night workers boggle the adult mind as well. There are ferry pilots, actors, relief workers for the homeless, bakers, bus drivers, farmers' market vendors, construction workers, cooks and servers, etc., etc. Their work is depicted with beautiful full colour photographs, artfully taken by Peter Jestadt, which capture the effects that lights at night produce (and aren't these night workers the ones who produce light for us?). Every half hour, another worker's occupation is outlined, with smaller, captioned shots on the left hand side of the page, and a full colour picture on the right. The accompanying text describes the work activity of actual people in the cities named. Their participation is acknowledged at the end of the book. The text, suitable for the younger age target group, is informative and lengthy enough for older elementary students.
Children in the early elementary grades study communities and how they work. Teachers will find this book to be a very useful accompaniment to a unit about what makes life work for their students. City at Night will make children aware and give them an appreciation for all the different types of people who make a contribution in society. This book about the night will be an eye-opener for those who are sleeping.
Harriet Zaidman is the teacher-librarian at Niakwa Place School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
To comment on this title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.