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.