City Numbers

Overview


Joanne Schwartz and Matt Beam have discovered numbers in many different forms all over the city. They are on houses and apartment buildings, on store windows and doors, on trucks and garbage bins, on sidewalks and parking spots. They are printed, spray-painted, molded in plastic, chiseled in stone, stamped on vinyl, even torched into metal. We see these numbers, often unconsciously, every day, but the wonderful photographs in this book prompt us to look at them more closely, becoming aware and alive to the art, ...
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Overview


Joanne Schwartz and Matt Beam have discovered numbers in many different forms all over the city. They are on houses and apartment buildings, on store windows and doors, on trucks and garbage bins, on sidewalks and parking spots. They are printed, spray-painted, molded in plastic, chiseled in stone, stamped on vinyl, even torched into metal. We see these numbers, often unconsciously, every day, but the wonderful photographs in this book prompt us to look at them more closely, becoming aware and alive to the art, serendipity and variety that surround us. This is another beautifully conceived book for anyone who enjoys engaging visually with the city.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Following City Alphabet (2009), this team offers an impeccably designed yet playful twist on the traditional counting book, with photographs of numbers found in an urban landscape. While the numbers are chronological—from three rusty red zeros on a metal garbage bin to the number 20 on another garbage container—Schwartz and Beam also include decimals, percents, prices, a fraction, and an image of a multi-digit barcode where 21 might have been. The number eight on snow-covered toilet-paper packaging and a disintegrating restaurant sign reading "15 Wings" subtly capture urban grit, but the real emphasis is on paying attention to the hidden surprises in the world's minutiae. Ages 3–up. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—Featuring numerals from zero to 20, this gritty celebration of numbers is not a classic concept book. Rather than counting ever increasing quantities of objects in an orderly fashion, Schwartz and Beam showcase the numbers themselves, interspersing some fractions, percentage signs, and decimals with the whole numbers. Each spread includes an artistically composed urban photograph opposite the number printed in both text and digits in a sea of white space. The printed numerals appear to be cut from the corresponding photo. As in this team's City Alphabet (Groundwood, 2009), the pictures feature numbers displayed on everything from a construction Dumpster and a traffic light to apartment buildings and store windows. The numbers are made from a variety of materials. Some are painted, some molded from plastic, and still others are printed on paper or etched into metal. A sparsely worded caption describing the location of and materials on which the number appears accompanies each photo. For example, nine is "printed on vinyl sticker. Storefront door." In an afterword, both the author and photographer reflect on the omnipresence of numbers throughout the landscape of the city. Like Stephen T. Johnson's City by Numbers (Viking, 1998), this title will appeal to older children. Math teachers might use it to discuss the importance of numbers in our everyday world.—Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA
Kirkus Reviews

The team that gave us City Alphabet (2009) takes on urban numbers in the same inventive way, still holding readers at a slight emotional distance. Beam takes pictures. He sees numbers everywhere: painted on Dumpsters, printed on cardboard, burnt into metal, carved in stone. This book is not for children just learning their numbers. Instead of presenting a simple 1-20 sequence, it starts with a row of zeros, continue with 1/2, find 2.5 percent in neon in a loan-office window, double-O seven in a metal road plate, 18 kg on a bag of garden rocks. Schwartz adds the utterly clear and utterly brief text: each number spelled out and a description ("Eleven / Spray-painted on cement. / Sidewalk"). The photographs are gritty and textured, always showing the odd angle or the slant light. The numerals as they are printed are a dropped-out image on a white ground: The number nine is the translucent, iridescent blue of the vinyl sticker on a storefront; the final image of a cardboard barcode reflects the same worn and stained paper. Like the first, this is more an artist's book than one for little children, but it does effectively invite readers to enjoy close and repeated examination of the form, shape and whimsy of numbers. (Picture book. 10 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554980819
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Pages: 60
  • Sales rank: 1,419,012
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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