Review posted August 15, 2012.
Candlewick Press, 2011. 32 pages.
I wish this book had been written when we still lived in Europe! It would have been absolutely perfect to read to our boys (Let's see, they were 5 and 11 years old) for our first family trip to London.
As a matter of fact, I would have liked to read it myself before my own trips to London. It gives a nice overview, with plenty of details, and I learned much about the city I didn't know, even having been there.
The story is a little girl and her mother sight-seeing in London. They mostly talk about what they're doing and what they're seeing, like the girl running to climb on the lions in Trafalgar Square.
The largest text follows the girl and her mother, and smaller print tells about details in the background. There are lots of things to look at on every page, and the back cover asks if you spotted the Royal Family's car, and gives the page numbers.
The pictures remind me a little bit of the illustrations of Paris in Madeleine, although these are more precise and more colorful. They definitely evoke London, without being photorealistic. You can tell what you're seeing. There's an interesting sense of depth, as it looks like he cut out sketches of people and things and placed them on top of one another, also using size to show distance.
If I ever get a chance to go to London again (and I definitely hope to do so), I will read this book before going. Eyewitness guides are fantastic, but this book a lovely way to imagine yourself taking a walk in London, and learning about the city while you're at it.
This is not a book for group storytimes, but it would be a lovely book to share with one child at a time, taking time to catch all the details and, best of all, prepare them for a trip to London.