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Berkeley Heights Public Library Reference Section Magazines Children's Department
Berkeley Heights Public Library

Nana in the city

by by Lauren Castillo

Publishers Weekly "I love my nana," a boy explains, "but I don't love the city." She greets him with a hug, but he's still nervous. "The city is busy," he says (crowds press in). "The city is loud" (a whistle shrieks). "The city is filled with scary things" (the boy shrinks from a homeless man holding out a cup). "It is no place for a nana to live," he concludes. While he sleeps, nana knits him a gift-a big red cape. A series of vignettes shows him wearing it the next morning, striking delighted poses. With new courage, the boy discovers a city he hasn't seen before-one full of life, wonder, and pretzels for homeless men: "It is the absolute perfect place for a nana to live," he decides. Castillo (The Troublemaker) examines childhood anxiety and the crucial love of grandparents with sensitivity, while her portraits of the city's challenges are honest and affectionate. It deserves a place on the shelf of classic New York City picture books. Ages 4-8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list When a little boy arrives in a big city to stay with Nana in her new apartment, he is overwhelmed and scared by the noise, the crowds, and the new experiences, from subway trains to panhandlers to graffiti. That next morning, though, he feels brave in the red cape Nana has knitted for him brave enough to venture out with her to explore. Now confident, he embraces new experiences and finds the city filled with extraordinary things! The short, simple text reads aloud well, and the watercolor artwork extends the narrative's tone and content beautifully. Strong, expressive black lines define the characters and settings, while autumn colors and interesting textures help bring the images to life. Children will want to linger over the busy urban scenes, discovering for themselves what might scare or excite the boy, while watching his body language convey his initial fears and his later engagement with all that he sees. A rewarding picture book with a vibrant setting.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-Nana's young grandson is excited about staying with her, but her new apartment is in the city, which, according to him, is "busy," "loud," and "filled with scary things." Nana, however, thinks the city is "bustling, booming, and extraordinary," and the next day, she takes him out to experience the sights and sounds for himself. Soon, the boy discovers that "busy" can be fun as he romps through Central Park, which is filled with people appreciating a fine fall day. "Loud" is actually enjoyable as he listens to street musicians and sees a fellow break-dancing to recorded music. By day's end, he comes to realize that the city is "filled with extraordinary things" and is "the absolute perfect place...to visit." While the child's account is related in brief text, the watercolor illustrations tell readers much more. They see him initially hang back as his grandmother leads him into the cavernous subway, hold hands over his ears and grimace at construction and traffic noises, and cling to Nana as a street person approaches her for money, which later becomes for him a friendly encounter when she offers the man a pretzel. Dark, graffiti-filled scenes change to a spread dominated by reds and yellows as the boy points in wonder to the lights, buildings, and bustle of the city at day's end. This is a fine example of how firsthand experience can overcome initial fear. Pair it with Lilian Moore's celebration of the city in Mural on Second Avenue (Turtleback, 2013).-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.