Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chicago and the State of Illinois – Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know by Kate Boehm Jerome

(Arcadia) When I was a kid the Guinness Book of World Records was modeled after a sleazy pulp paperback and you read it for the grainy freakshow pictures of the fattest, tallest, and shortest (and fingernail-iest) people on earth. Today it, and it’s Scholastic knockoff, are both slick, bright, hefty tomes with flashy, design featuring big glossy photos and dynamic layouts declaring such children-shouldn’t-give-a-darn stats as box office triumphs. And kids LOVE IT! So this guide to Chicago and downstate attractions borrows that flashy approach, YELLING THAT 24 MILLION PEOPLE VISIT THE FIELD MUSEUM and showing a GIANT CHICAGO HOT DOG PHOTO! Also notable is the way they mix awesome rural images with familiar Chicago landmarks. And I’m sure kids will dig it a lot. I remember as a twelve year old finding a dusty, newsprint booklet from the 1920s in a used book store that listed Chicago downtown buildings and local venereal disease statistics and thinking it was then greatest thing ever, but I guess you have to be from the generation that knew by name the fat twins on the minibikes in the Guinness Book (Billy and Benny McGuire) to appreciate that kinda stuff. 

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