Review of Cityscape: Where Science and Art Meet

Cityscape: Where Science and Art Meet
by April Pulley Sayre
Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g
5/20    978-0-06-289331-4    $17.99

Sayre (Warbler Wave, rev. 3/18; Being Frog, rev. 1/20) has a knack for pairing minimalist poetry with dramatic photographs. Here she turns her attention to urban settings where “science, math, art / live side by side.” Juxtaposing different buildings, bridges, sculptures, and vehicles, Sayre’s eye-catching spreads (with most photos taken by her) showcase lines, curves, angles, and shapes in striking compositions. A vertically oriented rectilinear skyscraper, for example, is positioned beside an angular shot of a different one. Both buildings function as mirrors, and they’re joined by the couplet: “Clouds paint pictures as they pass. / Reflections warp in window glass.” Here and elsewhere, personification, alliteration, and rhyme feature in Sayre’s succinct verse. Throughout the book, Sayre also plays with perspective. On one page, there’s a close-up of spiral sea fossils in a building’s rock wall. On another, viewers peer, from above, at a kayaker in a triangle-tipped vessel. Sayre hits cities on a few different continents — with the Louvre, Machu Picchu, and a Chicago Art Institute lion all making appearances. She also makes room for whimsy: case in point, a curvy Oscar Mayer Wienermobile crosses a suspension bridge. In a final “Explore the City” section, Sayre encourages viewers to get outside and look around, but they may find her “Questions to Ponder As You Wander” a bit challenging (e.g., “What is a heat island?”).

From the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Tanya D. Auger

Tanya D. Auger
Tanya D. Auger is a former middle school teacher with a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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