Megan McKean, Seasons in the City, Hachette Australia, September 2021, 64 pp., RRP $29.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780734420442
Megan McKean takes readers on a colourful and captivating journey around the world to various cities during different seasons of the year in this lovely junior non-fiction book.
A double-page spread is dedicated to one city in a particular season, with illustration taking up a good three quarters of that space. McKean uses a bright colour palette that reflects the mood of the season, and bold images are set within a detailed city scene. Iconic buildings, places, foods, and vegetation are all represented and easily recognisable, effectively capturing the essence of each city.
Children are sure to spend a considerable amount of time looking at and appreciating the details of each illustration. Personally, I enjoyed a bit of armchair travel, especially in this current travel-restricted world. It was nice to imagine being in Tokyo in Spring during the cherry blossom season, spending a sun-filled 18-hour Summer’s day in Stockholm, going on a hike during Autumn in Montreal or Winter whale watching in Cape Town.
Cities are obviously urban environments, so the text and illustrations focus more on the cultural and/or religious events that occur during the seasons rather than changes in the natural environments. Readers can learn a lot about the different celebrations and cultural practices of different places from the few paragraphs included about each city. Educators could use the book by choosing just one page spread of a particular city as a good general introduction of that place.
This is a well-presented book that includes just the right amount of factual information and much visual interest to be an appealing and educational text for primary school age readers.
Reviewed by Julie Bertola