NOT just for New Yorkers, this swingy rhyming book follows a daddy and his two little kids on a subway adventure on a rainy day. They take the A train from jazzy Harlem all the way to sleepy Far Rockaway. They savor the view as the Q crosses over the East River. They have fun with the map - why take the 1 straight from the southern tip of Manhattan to the southern end of Central Park... when you could take the 3 to the 5 to the N to the B to the C to the 7 to the 6 to the E to the D and end up at the same point?
Now I said it's not JUST for New Yorkers, but I can't help thinking, if you've ever lived and worked in New York, and the subway was part of your daily life, so ingrained that you stopped thinking about it, the miracle of 840 miles of track running (mostly) underground, linking 7 million people, two islands, 4 boroughs... the fabulous day this family is having will remind you that the subway is an air-conditioned subterranean marvel, a slice of life, a clean, well-lighted room that takes you to all the things New York has to offer.
And yes the subway's clean. Tawana Brawley was twenty years ago, people. Manhattan is practically Toronto nowadays.
Christoph Neimann hits the art just right here, too. Thick, hearty lines of paint describe motion and simple figures. The bold NYC MTA graphics are given a tactile, handmade quality that fits for the audience - maybe ages 4 through 6.
Mr. Neimann's NYC LEGO book is a treasure of a board book - but that one is in fact mostly for New Yorkers. It references the Gowanus Canal, and I don't think you'll get that joke unless you've been to Brooklyn. Although last I heard there were crabs in the Gowanus again. Preview that book on his blog if you're not sure.
Oh heck, there's a trailer. Here you go, the trailer for I LEGO N.Y. I can't resist!
Anyway, Subway works for us all:
Ex New Yorkers, non New Yorkers, and the New Yorkers that could have been. This is my son on the subway with his Dad - who is definitely a dad who would have taken his boys on an underground odyssey on a rainy day if we still lived in NYC. Sniff.
See the blog post that inspired this book on Christoph Niemann's NY Times blog, Abstract City.