A precocious narrator celebrates the best things about New York in this ode to the Big Apple.
In this debut picture book, a child with short, dark hair describes in rhythmic rhymes life in the big city: an apartment in the sky, scooter rides through Manhattan, subway trips to the Central Park Zoo, and taxi rides to a Broadway show. As the year ends, the narrator watches the Thanksgiving Day Parade and ice skates in Central Park. The child, who appears mostly alone in the pictures, finally drinks hot chocolate with Mommy and enjoys being cuddled to sleep. The narrator’s gender is ambiguous in the images and the text; it’s only a description on the back of the book that makes it clear he’s a boy. Rajput’s illustrations, combining hand-drawn linework and watercolors, feature diverse New Yorkers in a variety of skin tones, types of clothing, and ages. The watercolors add depth to the images, and the realism of Manhattan’s streets, full of people and traffic, should be appreciated by readers who have visited or live there. Children should particularly relish the Central Park Zoo, where fantastic beasts peek over the fence to welcome guests.
While parents may worry about the boy sightseeing on his own, young readers will likely engage with this tale’s simple, rhyming verses and imaginative illustrations.