In Arts & Entertainment

"Milwaukee City Safaris," Pat Pollworth's new book.

In Arts & Entertainment

"Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories" is an oral history based on interviews with 40 Wisconsin veterans.

Wisconsin book roundup: Pollworth guides us on "Milwaukee City Safaris"

If you think you need jungle and savannah for a safari, then you haven't encountered Milwaukeean Pat Pollworth's new book for families.

"Milwaukee City Safaris," with photos by Donna Runge, uses Milwaukee landmarks, architecture and neighborhoods to help kids expand their knowledge, fuel their curiosity and boost their appreciation of the built and natural environments in and around Brew City.

Pollworth provides all sorts of background and interesting information about landmarks like The Pabst Mansion, Plankinton Arcade, Milwaukee Art Museum, the Gertie the Duck statue, Milwaukee Public Library and others.

But most interestingly, she adds related details from beyond Milwaukee to help kids put the city and the landmark into context.

For example, in addition to naming the architect, the architectural style, the building materials and the unique features -- among other things -- of the Tripoli Shrine Temple on Wisconsin Avenue, she discusses the Taj Mahal, the history of Masonic lodges in Milwaukee and information on the Shriners.

Add in other suggested activities for kids and families and a great list of related resources and you've got not only a gem of a book for families, but a blueprint for a summer's worth of weekend safaris right here in Milwaukee.

"Milwaukee City Safaris" is available in paperback at local bookshops for $22.95.

Because we're sorta already city safarians already, my kid was delighted when I brought home "Milwaukee, Wisconsin: A Photographic Portrait," with photographs by Peter and Renee Skiba and text by Anne Bingham.

Published in hardcover ($26.95) by Twin Lights, this slim coffee table book is packed with colorful images of the city, with a focus on architecture and outdoor fun (i.e. festivals!).

From the moment, we flipped it open and saw the familiar sight of the Solomon Juneau statue in the eponymous Downtown park, we saw page after page of Milwaukee landmarks and neighborhoods that we've explored.

This is a great book for a Milwaukee ex-pat or an out-of-town visitor, but it's also great fun for those of us staying put right here.

Madison's Kevin Revolinski serves up "Wisconsin's Best Beer Guide" -- in paperback from Thunder Bay Press, $16.95 -- which is just what you expect it to be: a guide to Wisconsin brewers.

But Revolinski starts first with a history of beer in Wisconsin, discussing things like farm breweries, hops and kreusening along the way. Then he slices up the state into six territories and gets to work telling us about the dozens of breweries still in operation in the state.

Reading about everything from Potosi to Sprecher to New Glarus to Dave's BrewFarm makes me very thirsty. It also makes me want to take a sabbatical and go on a road trip. With a designated driver, of course.

From former Milwaukee Robert K. Elder comes "Last Words of the Executed" (University of Chicago Press, $22.50) a hardcover book that is exactly what the title suggests.

Elder spent seven years compiling this last will and testament of famous men like Ted Bundy, Joe Hill, Gary Gilmore and Nathan Hale, as well as the final utterings of many who were less famous.

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