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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Good Morning, City, written by Pat Kiernan and illustrated by Pascal Campion. Farrar Straus Giroux, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2016. $23.99 ages 3 and up

"The bus driver is
behind the wheel.
Vroom! Vroom!
Soon it's time for
school.

The construction
crew is hard at work.
Whack! Bang! Thwack!
They'll build that wall
by lunchtime."

I imagine few children spend their time wondering what happens where they live before their own day begins. For twenty years Pat Kiernan, morning anchor at NYC's NY1 news channel,  has been privy to exactly that. No matter how early it is, people are up and about - getting ready for a new day, doing what they do to make life easier for others. Whether it's a paper carrier, or a baker, much is going on while we are still abed.

The soft yellow endpapers offer warmth and an invitation to turn the page to the early darkness of an awakening city. The moon sheds filtered light on the city's silhouettes, and we get a passing glimpse of people at work and a welcome sunrise.

"Wake up, city.
Dogs out walking. Joggers out running.
Dawn's first light peeks through the tree branches."

The text is descriptive, and onomatopoeic. Children will enjoy hearing, and mimicking, the early morning sounds of delivery trucks, traffic, café patrons, even garbage collection. They will also see just what happens before they set about spending their own day at personal pursuits. A little girl awakens, as does her wee brother. They are set for adventure as a new day begins!

There are many lovely and lively moments, captured in colorful scenes. Pascal Campion's use of the changing light is quite remarkable. My favorite image is of the baby's bedroom, as seen from the door where his sister so happily welcomes the day.
                                                                       

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