A Walk in New York
Written and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino
40 pp.; ISBN-13: 978-0763638559
Review by Amy Brozio-Andrews
In this picture book for young armchair travelers, Salvatore Rubbino effectively blends a relaxing narrative with interesting trivia about selected major Manhattan landmarks in colorful mixed media illustrations.
The book opens with the arrival of a young boy and his dad at Grand Central Terminal by train. In a folksy, friendly style, the boy relates his day in the city with his dad, giving the book a "you are there" feel. From his awestruck first glimpse of the skyscrapers and the Flatiron building ("It isn’t square-shaped; it’s triangular!"), to watching the sun set behind the Statue of Liberty, A Walk in New York is a fun and fascinating introduction to New York City as seen through the eyes of a child.
The endpapers are a map of the city with arrows that point the way of their walk so that parents and kids can follow along. The factoids Rubbino includes are subtle and in the background, there for when you want them but not intrusive on the story itself. The illustrations are full and colorful but uncluttered; they contribute to the feel of a peaceful walk while still reflecting the hustle and bustle of busy city streets with speeding cabs and lots of people (the residents of Greenwich Village even greet each other in multiple languages, playing up the blurb about New York being home to approximately 170 languages).
Rubbino presents his illustrations from a variety of perspectives, from the top of the Empire State Building to street corners and shorelines, making the book as interesting visually as it is textually. The page with the Empire State Building even unfolds vertically, just to give a little perspective on how tall it really is. Rubbino’s choice of well-known sites, like Greenwich Village, the New York Public Library, the General Post Office and Union Square Park are likely to be familiar enough to many parents but presented with enough additional information to be interesting to adult readers as well as kids who may be "seeing" New York City for the first time. With the primary focus of the story being the time that the boy and his dad spend in the city, A Walk in New York remains a kid-centered story about people, right down to the boy’s wish that maybe someday the reader can enjoy his or her own walk in New York.
Whether you’ve been to New York City a hundred times or only dreamed of going, A Walk in New York is an enjoyable virtual day spent in the city with your child, visiting parks, cafes, cultural sites and more.