Although I’m not taking on new blog material this year in order to reduce my towering TBR pile, when Stacey Smith got in touch to tell me about a new book that features children facing challenging circumstances, and that the proceeds of Chicago Treasure go towards non profit service agencies the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled, and Access Living, I couldn’t refuse.
Chicago has many treasures. The Magnificent Mile and Wrigley Field, wonderful public art and parks, beautiful bridges and skylines. But the true heart and the real treasure of the city are its children.
This book is devoted to Chicago’s children. Come along as they travel to worlds within worlds, becoming storybook characters who follow the Yellow Brick Road, sip tea in Wonderland, tame a tiger, live in a shoe, climb a magic beanstalk to bring home a golden-egg-laying hen, turn a frog into a prince, meet fairies and dragons.
Continue as they step into painted canvases to inhabit scenes from other times and places. After climbing down from those framed worlds, they explore the city, high-fiving the victorious Chicago Bears, joining penguins at the theater, and leaping across State Street Bridge aboard African impalas.
The kids are the story.
The book is their adventure. Its door swings open. . .
My Review of Chicago Treasure
An eclectic mix of illustration, art, story and poetry featuring real children.
Chicago Treasure is such an uplifting book. It’s vibrant, colourful and the perfect mix of fantasy and reality so that children of all ages and abilities find themselves in exciting new and familiar narratives. I thoroughly appreciated the mix of gender and ethnicity and, whilst it is clear some children have visual or mobility problems because of the glasses they wear or wheel chair they may be in, there is no contrived focus on disability, but rather on having fun and participating fully in life.
With familiar stories like Humpty Dumpty or Sleeping Beauty, superheroes and Harry Potter, there is something within the pages of Chicago Treasure for any child, young or old, to enjoy. What appeals to me most is the way in which the superimposing of real children into the images affords them not only the excitement of seeing themselves in a book, but allows other children to use their imaginations and think ‘What if…?’ so that it encourages the development of creativity as well as being entertaining. The news stories could act as a stimulus for writing and I’m sure many will be inspired to read the works featured. Chicago Treasure has substantial reading matter to share with children within its pages but also leads young readers to books and films like Mary Poppins, Toy Story and Alice in Wonderland. There is also a super section featuring famous paintings that introduces a whole new arts genre to young people and could be used for projects and research as well as computer and editing skill stimulus. I think Chicago Treasure represents many hours of fun and pleasure.
As someone who has never been to Chicago, I also enjoyed finding out more about the city, its events and its people. Reading Chicago Treasure has made me want to visit!
I have never encountered a book quite like Chicago Treasure. It really is a treasure trove of interest for readers of all ages and abilities and not just those featured within its pages. I found it remarkable.
About the Authors
Larry Broutmanis the author of Chicago Unleashed, Chicago Monumental, Chicago Eternal, and the forthcoming Africa Treasure and Chicago Courageous. He photographed all of the children for this book. He and his wife, Susan, live in Chicago. Author proceeds from Larry’s projects are donated to the Chicago Lighthouse (for those who are blind or visually impaired) and Access Living.
Illustrator Rich Green is a former Disney intern, a computer graphics professional, and the illustrator of several popular children’s books. Although he works mostly digitally, he also enjoys putting pencil to paper and brush to paint. His artworks can be found in regional galleries. Rich lives in Joliet, Illinois, with his faithful dog, Annie.
John Rabias, teacher and magician, works in digital illustration and post-production imaging and has taught computer graphics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for over twenty years. When not working on screen, John paints in oil. He lives in Chicago with his Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster.