Under New York

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
High (A Christmas Star) and Rayevsky (Squash It! A True and Ridiculous Tale) conduct an irresistibly quirky, good-natured tour of the subterranean goings-on in Gotham. Rayevsky sets the tone with his witty mixed-media illustrations, which marry urban grays and browns with zippy, funky draftsmanship in a truly original style. His every figure is full of life; even the animals have clear personalities. He divides each spread horizontally, showing the bustling city above- and below-ground. The underground scenarios include subway stations, "miles of pipes and wires," the construction site of a water tunnel, a jazz club and a shopping mall. (New Yorkers may notice that the scenes don't always match up, however: a street scene on Madison and 49th is paired with a subway station further west and downtown). High's breezy narrative does not target specific locations, yet does include marvelous details, such as a 1935 report in the New York Times of an alligator in the city sewers and the revelation that, when the circus comes to town, elephants walk through the Lincoln Tunnel (under the Hudson River). A whimsical way to savor a bite of the Big Apple. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Those who have always wondered and even those who have never thought about it will be fascinated to discover what can be found below street level in New York City. Of course, there is the subway, but there are also pipes and power lines, jazz clubs and elephants once a year when the circus comes to town. There is even a reference to the urban legend of alligators in the sewers. High's straightforward text is creatively illustrated with the pages split between above ground and below. The Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, Rockefeller at Christmas and Chinatown are sights that will be familiar to tourists as well as residents. The everyday world is represented by the dogwalkers, street performers and yellow cabs. The underground world of shafts and ladders, miles of pipes and wires, elephants and alligators are in an appropriately dark palette, while the jazz club is portrayed in a hot red. This is a delightful introduction to urban life. While it is city specific, it can be a jumping off point for a discussion of how cities are constructed. 2001, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Subway musicians, sidewalk break dancing, mounted police officers, hot dog vendors, yellow taxicabs, and pigeons are all celebrated in this stylized overview of life in the Big Apple. Double-page spreads feature cleverly split illustrations that depict life both above and below the ground. For example, Rockefeller Center's skating rink provides a roof for the shops below, and a street busy with cars and trucks sits atop an equally active subway platform. Each illustration is accompanied by five lines of rhythmic text that begin with the words "Under New York," and go on to describe that particular scene. Tidbits of history and curious facts of present-day life add to the adventure. Readers learn that in 1935, the New York Times reported the presence of an alligator underground, and that the Lincoln Tunnel serves as an entryway for elephants headed to perform at Madison Square Garden. While the illustrations are most often rendered in dark shades of grays, greens, and browns with heavy black outlines, they are never dismal. Rather, they capture the city's energy with remarkable ease. Notes from both the author and illustrator reflect infectious enthusiasm for a work worth noting.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Children, urban or otherwise, will marvel along with High (Barn Savers, 1999, etc.) at all that is to be found beneath New York City's "offices and theaters and stores," "families and homes and schools," "garbage and car horns and billboards." It's not just rocks, pipes, and cables, but rumored alligators and real elephants (the latter on their way under the Hudson River to a circus at Madison Square Garden), restaurants and subway stations, an immense water main still under construction, tunnels carrying everything from shoppers to trains. Rayevsky (Joan of Arc: The Lily Maid, 1999, etc.) incorporates photographs and children's drawings into a series of split-page, above-and-below-ground, urban cross-sections, some generic, others featuring recognizable landmarks. Penumbral colors, further darkened by thickly brushed outlines, convey the impression that city residents seldom see the sun, but no one here seems to mind it. Though not exactly an unqualified valentine to the city that never sleeps, this does afford a playful glimpse of its complexity. (afterword, personal comments from author and illustrator) (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823415519
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.81 (w) x 11.31 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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