Somewhere in the City

Familius. Apr. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781641702607.
PreS-Gr 1–Lucy imagines her dad “somewhere in the city” while she waits for him to return home from work. The illustrations show him hurrying through ordinary places (a revolving door, a construction site, a crowded street)–ordinary, that is, except that each is infused with a circus theme that feels random and unrelated to the text. It’s also the only clue that the reader is seeing Lucy’s imagination and not where her dad really is since neither style nor format cues in readers to a difference between the two. While suitable for imagining where the father is, the refrain “somewhere in the city,” becomes awkward when it’s used to describe Lucy’s very concrete pre-bedtime tasks: “Somewhere in the city Lucy brushes her teeth.” Readers know she is not somewhere—she’s at home. While the rhythmic city sounds make for a nice read-aloud, odd verb choices, such as “mix mix moves the baker” may cause even the adult reader to stumble. Leng’s illustrations are done in a muted palette and vintage comic strip style with round pink dots on the cheeks, sharp noses, and tear-drop eyes. The overall effect is attractive. Mother, father, and Lucy all have sandy brown straight hair and peach colored skin.
VERDICT A promising title that, unfortunately, disappoints.

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