The Way Downtown Review 

Synopsis from Kids Can Press:

In this one-of-a-kind book, the complex and fascinating world of urban public transit is explored using five different characters’ journeys through the imaginary city of Zoom. From the Zanies, a family of street performers; to Agent Theodore Rybka, a spy on a very secret mission; to Robbie, a seven-year-old boy visiting the city for the first time, the characters are quirky and full of personality. On this particular morning, they are all headed downtown from different locations, but they all end up in the same place at the same time. Keen readers will be able to spot where their paths cross along the way. All of the journeys from start to finish are described visually first and then are told as stories in panels, embellished with definitions, labels and explanations of how things work on subways, buses, light rail trains and ferry boats.

This fun and engaging book from Inna Gertsberg offers an innovative approach to a popular subject, covering a city’s entire public transportation system rather than just one mode of transit. It’s loaded with facts presented with fun, lively illustrations by Mike Lowery that are busy, humorous and filled with details. Also included are a city map, a transit map and a glossary. This is a book that will find numerous uses in the classroom, including social studies lessons on transportation, technology, the environment, land use, urban communities and map reading.

About: The Way Downtown: Adventures in Public Transit is a non-fiction children’s picture book written by Inna Gertsberg and illustrated by Mike Lowery. It will be published on 10/3/17 by Kids Can Press, an imprint of Hatchette Book Group, hardcover, 44 pages. The genres are non-fiction, children’s book, picture book, and public transit. This book is intended for readers ages 4 to 8, grades PreK to 3. According to Kids Can Press’ website, it is “the largest Canadian-owned children’s publisher in the world – recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2013.” The Toronto-based publisher has variety of books for all readers, from picture books to non-fiction, graphic novels, young adult, and more. Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.

My Experience: I started reading The Way Downtown: Adventures in Public Transit on 7/24/17 for my 5 year old son as a bedtime story and we finished it that same night. This book is fantastic! Every page is filled with so many activities and so much going on that it keeps my son’s attention fixed onto the page. My son is able to use his observation skills to seek out for the spy Agent Rybka, Robbie, different transportations, or places. I love that there are names of different water transportations next to its illustrations: water taxi, ferry, cargo ship, and cruise ship. This book has it all and both my son and I loved it!

In this book, readers will follow a family of Zanies, who do juggling and other performances for the crowd in the town of Zoom. They ride in their unicycles and then take the subway to the park to perform. Robbie likes to take photos of birds and squirrels. He and his aunt walk to the bus stop and later transfer to the subway to get to the park. There’s Agent Rybka, 008, a spy agent who flew into town by an airplane and then he took the express train into downtown. Dr. Brody works at the museum and she rides her bike and then take the ferry into workEach person’s travel route is displayed as a numbering maze showing which transportation they use and which place they pass by. This book introduces kids the concepts of service dogs, in this case, Boris where he lead his blind friend, Guy to the park by walking and using the light rail train.

This book is definitely a top choice for children at school, library, or at home. It maps out a birds view of the town for readers. We are able to look and see that the city of Zoom has a library, a museum, a park, several islands, many different transportations, different people doing different activities, and so much more. Readers will be so busy identifying places and things. I love that there are definitions at the end of the book as well as during the read in the story. I love the extra tips on the different types of transportation tickets and information booth. This is an amazing book, very well written story and illustrations and I highly recommend this book for everyone!

Pro: illustration, transportation info, birds view maps, public transit system, interactive, vocabularies definitions

Con: none

I rate it 5 stars!

Buy here for free shipping:  Book Depository or Kids Can Press Website

About the Author:

Inna Gertsberg grew up in the Soviet Union, a big country that no longer exists. As a kid, Inna loved to draw, and often created her own illustrations for the books she read. When she was a teenager, Inna’s family moved to Chicago where she studied art and decorated ice cream cakes to pay for her art supplies and tuition. After graduating, Inna worked in advertising as an art director and writer — a job that took her all over the world. Inna finally settled in Toronto, where she now lives with her two sons and a cat.

When she is not writing stories or making children’s books, Inna brings to life people’s imaginary monsters in her Draw Me a Monster project. Inna has drawn monsters for people in Australia, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Japan, Israel, France, England, Italy, China and many other parts of the world. She hopes to someday draw a monster for people from every single country.

Inna is an avid rock climber and a big fan of public transit.
Instagram: @drawmeamonster
(Photo and info obtained from Kids Can Press website).

More Information about Kids Can Press

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***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.


8 thoughts on “The Way Downtown Review 

    • Jasmine says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the book as well. There’s a lot going on in Zoom city haha.. I love the attempt at humor where one of the Zanies’ kid got lost and Agent Rybka’s crazy travel routes to make sure no one follows him.. haha..


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