The New York Times
Building Manhattanby Laura Vila
A picture book for city lovers everywhere! Vibrant illustrations and a spare text come together in this striking picture book to tell the story of the building of Manhattan. There was a time when the city was little more than an undeveloped island. But as the small patch of land shifted from Native American to Dutch to English to American hands, it was built, layer on top of layer, into the bustling metropolis it is today.
With illustrations so detailed that one look just won?t be enough, this book explores the city?s many layers and shows they?re still visible, as long as you know where to look! A time line and bibliography are included.
The New York Times
Tracing the growth of Manhattan from a time "before maps or words were used" to the present day, debut author/artist Vila employs many lenses-geography, sociology, politics, ethnography. Likewise, her radiantly dramatic mural-like paintings present a wide range of visual styles and approaches: she offers readers both fisheye and a bird's-eye views of the island, and varies her vantage point from romantic idealism (a "peaceable kingdom"-like scene of pre-people Manhattan) to reportorial (the influx of immigrants) to surreal (a celebration of the city's traffic snarls) to metaphoric (the world's ongoing love affair with the Big Apple). But while her paintings are lavish, it takes her only one pithy sentence on each spread to convey both a specific moment and a sense of history and human ambitions: "Boats and boats packed with people, traditions, languages and new ideas clogged the shores." A formidable new talent. Ages 6-8. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
K-Gr 4- "Long ago, before maps or words were used, a little island formed." This engaging picture book traces the dramatic changes that Manhattan has undergone through the centuries as animals, people, and buildings have filled it in different ways. Each spread jumps to a new era, with a sentence or two to describe the period and pictures that reveal much more. The art is rendered in a folk-art style, with purposeful shifts in line, perspective, and composition that give each spread a distinct feel. Strong vertical lines capture the "skinny row houses" of 100 years ago, sweeping curves show the arrival of more and more people in the mid-20th century, and a bird's-eye view of modern skyscrapers shows how "it grew and it grew and people still come." Though conditions change, every scene conveys excitement and wonder at the ever-changing, always-busy island. The broad tableaux include smaller details that fill in some intriguing specifics from each period, such as the mixture of automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in 1909 and the many historical people and events represented on an 18th-century quilt. Sharp eyes will also spot a ubiquitous pair of mice. A time line provides further background, including dates, for each illustration. This is an effective visual presentation that introduces the history of Manhattan and also explores how places change over time.-Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR
- Penguin Young Readers Group
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.50(w) x 12.10(h) x 0.50(d)
- Age Range:
- 6 - 8 Years
Meet the Author
Laura Vila studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pratt Institute. She lives in New York City, and this is her first book.
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This book has beautiful illustrations of NYC!