Coordinating with our Kids’ Travel Guide to San Francisco, we are featuring 3 books related to the City by the Bay. For this week’s Sunday Shelfie, we are reading: This is San Francisco, San Francisco: A Book of Numbers, and Maybelle The Cable Car.
We love Miroslav Sasek’s classic children’s guide books to the world’s largest cities. With his signature vintage illustrations, This is San Francisco combines a history lesson, a tourist guide (there are some footnotes to highlight major updates since the 1960s), and pretty picture book all in one! While there’s no traditional narrative, this classic takes the reader on a journey through the heart of San Fran and shares tons of great facts about the historic cable cars, Golden Gate bridge, various neighborhoods and attractions (did you know that over 1 million trees grow in Golden Gate Park?!). We spend most of our time enjoying the gorgeous illustrations and reminiscing about the sights we visited with Bash joyously exclaiming, “We rode dat trolley with nana and papi!”
San Francisco: A Book of Numbers is a very simple picture book for babies and toddlers. The bold pictures provide a nice overview / reminder of some of the key sights in San Fran (cable cars, seals, Painted Ladies). Bash is very interested in numbers, so we have this book in our rotation when we practice our counting. While a standard “numbers up to 10” book, we like to make this an interactive and educational read.
By far, Bash’s favorite “San Francisco treat” is riding around the cable cars and streetcars. Surprisingly, we haven’t been able to find a good picture book dedicated to these classic rides; any aspiring childrens’ book authors out there, here’s a plea for a cute tale about a trolley! We like Maybelle The Cable Car for its plentiful and colorful illustrations, dedicated to cable cars. However, the story is long at 42 pages with lots of text per page and quite complex for kids (historical descriptions, an economics lesson provided by a bus, and citizen activism at its finest). This is definitely more suited for an older crowd (at least 5 years old). For now, we like skipping through the pictures and making up stories about Maybelle the Cable Car and we can’t wait until Bash gets old enough to better understand the narrative.