Hello, friends! Our book today is Nelly Takes New York: A Little Girl’s Adventures In The Big Apple, written by Allison Patacki and Marya Myers, and illustrated by Kristi Valiant.
Nelly wakes up in her West Village apartment bedroom to the familiar sounds of New York: the rumble of the subway, the beat of a street musician, the rattle of a shop gate being opened. Heading outside with her faithful beagle (named Bagel), she runs into Mr. Patel in his food truck. After telling him her morning plans, he replies enthusiastically: “The Big Apple is tons of fun!” Big Apple? Sounds exciting, and just the kind of thing she and Bagel would love to see. So Nelly and her pup set out on a Manhattan adventure that takes them from Union Square to the Museum of Natural History to the 9/11 Memorial; searching for the Big Apple, and finding it in the most unexpected of ways.
Native New Yorkers may chuckle at a few of the book’s premises and conventions – what school-age native New Yorker, old enough to traverse Manhattan unaccompanied, has never heard the phrase “Big Apple”? – but with a little suspension of disbelief, there still a lot to love here. While a few of the standard tourist landmarks – like Central Park and the Empire State Building – are highlighted, the story reads primarily as a love letter from a New Yorker’s perspective. Beats focus on the strong sense of community New Yorkers have and the unique beauty of the city; rich, gloriously detailed illustrations capture the famed architecture and unparalleled diversity of races, skintones, religions, and cultures. It’s a view of New York for both residents and non-residents, and overall does a lovely job of celebrating “the Big Apple”. The length was fine for a storytime, and JJ loved the illustrations especially the rascally Bagel. We really enjoyed it, so it’s Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)