Book Corner

Metropolis

Metropolis

By Albert Lorenz & Joy Schleh
Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, New York. 64 pages.
Permission for illustration reproduction provided. Good for middle school to adult. There are some fairly advanced words and ideas. It's helpful to have some knowledge of world history.

If you ever wanted to hop on a magic carpet and take a whirlwind world tour covering 1,000 years, here's your chance. You can tour ten cities, beginning with Jerusalem in the 11th century and ending in New York City at the end of the 20th century.

But this isn't an ordinary history book with lots of words and a few pictures. It's mostly pictures, and author and illustrator Albert Lorenz zooms in closer with each page so you see a snapshot of the everyday life of the people who lived there.

Imagine, for example, if someone took a picture of your downtown in the middle of the day — what would people be doing? What would they be wearing?

Lorenz describes each time period then looks at one key event and its effect in that city and around the world. He touches on everything from art and technology to warfare and disease. Because the book is over a foot long, you can spend hours examining his amazingly detailed drawings. A fun timeline helps you keep track of the important events and discoveries taking place all over the world.

These pictures of Koblenz, Germany, show the impact of the Black Plague as it spread through Europe in the 1300s.

Click on the pictures for a closer look.

Continent This is how the European continent might have looked in the 1340s. Can you find Paris? Rome? The upper right box shows the ship trade routes that helped spread the Plague.

RatsCan you find the black rats and their fleas that spread the Plague? The corpses being buried? A home that is boarded-up so the disease won't spread?

Garlic Can you find the garlic and magic charms that were used to try to cure the Plague?