Rose is adopted and suffers from a speech impediment (she reverses initial consonants), diagnosed as trauma from her years in a Russian orphanage. Strolling through Central Park, she sees a crystal staircase arising out of the turtle pond that leads to U Nork, a mirror city where the pigeons are large enough to ride and the skyscrapers take eight hours to ascend. Mixing in allusions to Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and The Snow Queen, Gopnik's narrative strains under the weight of his hyperbolic imagination. Still, this fantasy, rich in comic detail, is more accessible than his The King in the Window (2005), which featured the same family. Perhaps best suited to those familiar both with New York and the New Yorker, where Gopnik is a staff writer (one character is clearly modeled on Joseph Mitchell, the New Yorker writer who legendarily didn't produce a single story for 30 years), this will appeal to kids who already think Central Park is pretty magical. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/25/2010 Release date: 11/01/2010 Genre: Children's
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