Codes for Reviews

First Initial (Overall Rating):
E = Exceptional
VG = Very Good
G = Good
F = Fair
NR = Not Recommended

Second Initital (Reading Level):
A = Average Reading Level
E = Easy
M = Mature

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Steps Across the Water

Fantasy, Elementary/Middle School, VG/A

Gopnik, Adam (Author), McCall, Bruce (Illustrator). The Steps Across the Water. Hyperion, 2010. 304p. 978-1423112136. $17.99

This is a charming story about Rose, a young girl who lives in New York City. Rose is adopted and although she feels absolutely loved and accepted by her family, she still can’t help feeling a little bit of an outsider at times. One of the things Rose feels most self-conscious about is her habit of inverting words. For instance, she’ll say “U Nork” instead of saying “New York”. This all comes to have great significance when Rose discovers that there really is a place called U Nork and that it’s at the other end of “The Steps Across the Water” in Central Park. U Nork is similar to, but also fantastically different from, New York City. In U Nork, buildings have thousands of floors, giant pigeons and zeppelins populate the skies and a centralized prison inhabits their version of Central Park known as “Sin-Trail Park”. Unfortunately, U Nork is also in need of saving from an evil villain known as the Ice Queen. Much to Rose’s surprise, the citizens of U Nork seem convinced that Rose is key to defeating the Ice Queen. One can’t help but cheer for Rose, our immensely likeable if unsuspecting hero. There are also some truly funny passages in the book like the “truth” behind NYC taxi drivers. Sophisticated readers might work out the plot twists but even if they do, it’s still a fun read.

-Patsy Pinedo Tuck, Eagle Rock Branch, Los Angeles Public Library

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