Childrens Books
School Visits
Cast of Characters
Donation Request
Teachers Lesson Plans_

web store
view book index web store


preview this book
larger view

Author: Chris K. Soentpiet
Illustrator: Chris K. Soentpiet

Gr PreK-2/Ages 4+
32 pages/picture book
9" X 11½"
ISBN #0-688-04572-3
$16.99 US
$25.99 CAN

to order this book, contact:
(866) 800-8893


What can you do on a summer Saturday in the city? Just about anything! Take in a puppet show or marvel at jugglers. Have your face painted, or even your portrait. Hear a brass band on one corner and a flute on the next. Acrobats, artists, cobblers, and clowns-all of them there right on the street, without ever stepping inside a door. This joyful celebration of city life will make even the most devoted suburbanite eager to take a trip to town!

This is my first picture book and I am grateful to my editor, Susan Pearson who encouraged me to not only paint but also to write this story.

I grew up in Oregon surrounded by trees where the road straight as a slide rule; flat, parched prairie; no scenery to hang the eye on. Only sky, and the occasional tourist sign. When I first arrived to New York City on a scholarship to attend Pratt Institute, I was in awe of all the tall buildings, fast pace and noisy pleasure.  I wanted to document my new experience into my first and most special book. -Chris Soentpiet


"Lively, double-page spread realistic paintings, splashed with sunlight and color and filed with all kinds of people in myriad activities, celebrate life in the city...Soentpiet's first picture book captures both the diversity and
community of city life."
-ALA Booklist

"This vibrant, exuberant tour of New York City, illustrated in colorful, detailed watercolors will delight children. This book could also be used as a social-studies supplement. A lighthearted positive view of life in an urban environment." -School Library Journal

"A fine debut; an illustrator to watch."
-Kirkus Reviews

Theme: AROUND TOWN can be used to introduce your students to the city life.

Pre-reading: Show the students the cover of the book. Ask them what they think the book will be about. Next show the illustrations without reading -- now what do they think the book will be about. Ask if anyone if they have ever been to the city (New York City). Where did they go? Does the subway in the book look like the one they rode on?

This story takes place in New York City, have the students look at a map to find this city. Where is your closest city?

Reading: As you read and show the illustrations have the students look closely at the drawings. What details can they find in the pictures? Can they see the hidden doll faces? Have them look closely at the expressions on the faces for the characters. Ask the students how they think the characters are feeling. Can they tell by the illustrations?

Fun activity: The students should prepare a story involving several favorite locations they have visited "Around (name of your school). With a page for each place, have the students write a small paragraph or sentence along with a drawing or painting that describes the location. Jot down what they see at the auditorium, cafeteria, the playground or even the principal's office. Picture books involves many different characters. Students may draw themselves as the main character and hide objects throughout their pictures. Example: "I like to show my mom around the school library", accompany that with a drawing.

Geography: Have the students plan a trip to New York City. Will they need the plane, train, bus to get there? Maybe they can walk. Ask them to estimate the miles, how long will it take, what would they need to bring -- food, clothes, entertainment items, books etc. What do they want to see when they arrive to New York City? The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Chinatown, Little Italy, South Street Seaport, Brooklyn Bridge or one of several museums.

Science: Plan meals for the proposed trip - New York is famous for its bagels, pizzas and hotdogs. Map out what other foods they might bring to meet the requirements of the food pyramid.

Literature: Read a New York City tour book. Or visit and download a free map. Look for other books by Chris Soentpiet. If you really enjoyed AROUND TOWN write a review and post it on-line at or so others can enjoy your reading experience.

Art: The girl buys a doll in Coney Island. Make a life-size paper doll. Have the students trace and outline the doll on a piece of paper. Now have the students cut out the tracings and color the dolls with scraps of paper, fabric, yarn, and other craft items.

Bulletin Board - headline: AROUND (name of your school). Ask students what they see around their school. List them.


Biography | Appearances | School Visits | Books | Donation Request | Yin Author Visit | Contact | Web Store