New York Is English, Chattanooga Is Creek

New York Is English, Chattanooga Is Creek

by Chris Raschka
     
 

Suppose you are a
CITY.
Yes, you, looking at this book.
Who named you
SANTA FE,
or
PORTLAND,
or
TOMBSTONE,
or
whatever your name is?
This book invites you to a big party with lots and lots of relatives, near and far, from all over tha nation.
These relatives will be glad to meet YOU!<

Overview

Suppose you are a
CITY.
Yes, you, looking at this book.
Who named you
SANTA FE,
or
PORTLAND,
or
TOMBSTONE,
or
whatever your name is?
This book invites you to a big party with lots and lots of relatives, near and far, from all over tha nation.
These relatives will be glad to meet YOU!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In an inventive book that pictures U.S. cities as aristocrats, explorers and Native Americans, Raschka (Mysterious Thelonius) blithely explains that "a thousand names, a hundred languages... and a million people name one nation." New York, in its post Nieuw Amsterdam incarnation, appears as a bewigged and snow-white-powdered Duke of York, prancing in a red coat and buckle shoes. Like the other personified cities, he wears a hat that alludes to his home's distinctive architecture-in this case, a stylized sky-blue Empire State Building. Multiethnic New Yorkers might rightly protest this monochromatic and dandyish depiction. But optimistic Raschka barely alludes to the conflicts and mixed populations that give places their names. Graceful Minneapolis, "part Sioux, part Greek," does stand a bit aloof, but overall these variegated cities get along. New York throws a party and invites German princess Charlotte, dancing Waikiki, San Francisco cloaked in brown monk's robes (for its St. Francis of Assisi roots) and Pittsburgh, who wears a Revolutionary general's blue coat and a cap topped with three steel-era smokestacks. Conversation starts slowly, but then "Beulah met Bethesda. They're both Aramaic!" and Greek, white-bearded Philadelphia clasps hands with Memphis, called after an Egyptian city. At the end of the night, New York politely says, "Buenos noches, Las Vegas. Au revoir, Lafayette. Darling Salem, shalom." Raschka's lilting approximate rhyme, and his piquant watercolors on clean white paper, make this book an aural and visual pleasure, a gateway to understanding the complicated histories in unusual words' origins. Ages 4-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-At once carefully intentional and casually random, this is both a fascinating exploration of the etymology and derivation of American city names and a characteristic Raschka farcical flight-of-fancy. Each city is portrayed as a colorfully costumed caricature relating to its name's origins, and each one has a headdress topped by a significant symbol. St. Louis wears its famous arch while New York is crowned by the Chrysler Building. The latter is depicted as a pompously bewigged Duke who plans a party for his friends, the other cities. A guest list at the beginning gives the history of the names of 39 invitees. The party is a success and a reminder of American diversity even in the founding and naming of its cities. (Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is capped anachronistically by pollution-spewing smokestacks.) Raschka's illustrations rendered in ink and watercolor employ his loose, impressionistic, brushy style to perfect effect, giving the book its humor while artfully delivering his message and entertaining information. It's a rousing reminder that, "A thousand names,/a hundred languages,/a million, and a million, and a million people/name one nation." Invite Laurie Keller's The Scrambled States of America (Holt, 1998) to the party for an even bigger celebration of Americana.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This poetically whimsical celebration of the origins of American place-names pulls together a veritable melting pot of cities to attend a party. New York has three friends-Minneapolis, El Paso and Chattanooga-but he wants to broaden his circle of acquaintance. Like all parties, this one picks up nicely after a slow start, Amarillo, Green Bay and Baton Rouge all comparing colors, and Seattle, Washington and Tuscaloosa trading military tales. Each city is represented by a characteristically loosely drawn cartoon with oversize head and totemic hat. New York himself, as an English nobleman, sports a black beauty mark and a little Empire State Building rising out of his powdered wig. Each city is glossed briefly with an allusion to its linguistic origins-"Beulah met Bethesda. They're both Aramaic!"-which is more thoroughly explained in the annotated "Guest List" that precedes the narrative. The humor with which Raschka invests his cities with personality is entirely winning, as is his awe-inspired theme: "A thousand names, and hundred languages, a million, and a million and a million people name one nation." This offering stands as a quietly enthusiastic reminder of our collective histories. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689846007
Publisher:
Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Publication date:
09/20/2005
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 12.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Raschka is the illustrator of The Hello, Goodbye Window, which was awarded the Caldecott Medal. He is also the illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Yo! Yes?; Charlie Parker Played Be Bop; Mysterious Thelonious; John Coltrane’s Giant Steps; and Can’t Sleep. He lives with his wife and son in New York City.

Chris Raschka is the illustrator of The Hello, Goodbye Window, which was awarded the Caldecott Medal. He is also the illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Yo! Yes?; Charlie Parker Played Be Bop; Mysterious Thelonious; John Coltrane’s Giant Steps; and Can’t Sleep. He lives with his wife and son in New York City.

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