A lighthearted travel companion for families planning to take a bite out of the Big Apple.

Kidding Around NYC

FOR KIDS WHO WANT THE INSIDE TRACK ON THE CITY

A fun guide helps kids discover what makes New York City special.

For families planning to travel to New York or kids who have always wanted to see the Big Apple, Roche’s debut is a solid introduction to the city. Right away it’s clear that this is no staid travel guide; what do Einstein’s eyeballs and George Washington’s tooth have to do with NYC? Readers will find out as they quickly move from one subway stop to the next on this whirlwind tour. Destinations include all the best-known sights: the Museum of Natural History, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, just-built One World Trade Center, and, saving the best for last, FAO Schwarz (which closed in July). Be sure to take this book along for tips on what to see and do at each location. The guide ventures beyond the most famous tourist stops to lesser-known attractions, such as the Tenement Museum and Merchant’s House. Roche keeps the text lively and fills the pages with intriguing trivia, quizzes, maps, color photographs, and sketches. The formatting, which resembles a scrapbook more than a guidebook, is engaging, though sometimes the text is cut off midsentence, leaving readers hanging. Minor formatting errors aside, it’s clear that Roche has done her research, and she translates all these facts into relatable information. Who knew that over 800 languages are spoken in New York? You’d need more than a half-hour just to say “hello” in all of them. Descriptions are often chuckle-worthy: “If you think your grandparents are old, wait until you learn about quasars.” A glossary at the end defines some difficult words, but other unfamiliar terms—burlesque, art deco, etc.—could have used additional explanation. Although packed with information, the guide doesn’t delve too deeply into any subject. A short bibliography of picture books and early readers comes at the end, but more nonfiction suggestions would have been helpful for in-depth exploration after piquing reader interest.

A lighthearted travel companion for families planning to take a bite out of the Big Apple.

Pub Date: July 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9961484-1-2

Page Count: 77

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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