C Is For City
Pictures by Pat Cummings
City is the operative word in this hustling, bustling, urban ABC book. It begins, “A is for arcade or ads for Apartments / on short streets with alleys alive with stray pets. / A is for Afghans named after their owners / who drive them to art shows in silver Corvettes.” Cummings’ lively cartoonish illustrations depict all of these a words, plus countless more tucked in for the keen-eyed reader. (A key in the back of the book lists all illustrated objects.) The rhymes themselves are quite clever and packed with vocabulary-expanding images. Each illustration is a hearty slice of urban life, with all its intersecting dramas and scenes within scenes. At a diner, for instance, four different dramas play out, including a doorman jumping double-Dutch and a teen flirting with the waitress. Certainly city children will identify with the book, but any child should find in its busy illustrations much worth discussing or poring over alone.