I Love My City

I Love My City

A review of I Love My City by France Desmarais and Richard Adam

Published on March 16, 2023

Recently, my young nephew visited Montreal from his rural home. Driving north on Parc Avenue, we marvelled at the sights through his eyes. “What is a block?” he asked. Simple as it was to explain the parameters of this basic urban element, I couldn’t help but wax poetic about one of my favourite Montreal blocks: that special stretch of pavement on Fairmount between Clark and Saint-Urbain, where the air is thick with the iconic smell of Montreal’s wood-fired bagels. 

I Love My City

I Love My City
France Desmarais and Richard Adam
Illustrated by Yves Dumont

Pajama Press
$15.95
paper
56pp
9781772782837

Perhaps such a question inspired author France Desmarais and municipal administrator Richard Adam to team up for I Love My City, which is pitched as “the big book of civil engineering for curious kids.” If you’ve ever wondered how city water is filtered or how cities are governed, this book will give you the facts. To inspire a conversation with young readers about the role cities can play in curbing climate change, the authors focus on sustainability, renewable energy, and improved waste management. Yves Dumont’s Busytown-esque illustrations help visual learners get the picture. 

A book this broad in scope runs the risk of oversimplifying complex issues and histories, and I Love my City falls into this trap (the history of the Berlin Wall is reduced to a fifty-word text bubble). Inclusion of some storytelling elements would have enlivened the text. While a love letter to the city this book is not, city-curious kids will learn a lot.mRb

Meaghan Thurston is a Montreal-based arts and science writer, co-editor of the anthology With the World to Choose From: Seven Decades of the Beatty Lecture at McGill University, and mother to two budding readers.

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