Friday, February 13, 2015

Nana in the city by Lauren Castillo

I really like Lauren Castillo's books. It's funny how much harder it is to review titles that you like though. It all seems to devolve into vague mumbling about "fantastic" and "wonderful" but I will do my best.

A little boy goes to stay with his nana at her new home in the city. At first, he's unhappy. The city is noisy and busy and scary; how can Nana be happy here? But then she makes him a superhero cape and shows him how wonderful the city is. She shows him a park, live music and friendly dogs. They give a pretzel to a homeless man and he smiles at them, and the city lights up at night. The little boy is delighted to discover that "The city is busy, the city is loud, and it is the absolute perfect place for a nana to live."

Castillo's illustrations have bold colors and broad lines. Bright red accents make Nana stand out against the sometimes drab city background. At the beginning, when the little boy is frightening, the city looms over them and the busy streets are full of faceless people. As he gets to know the city, color explodes across the urban landscape and people come into focus.

Verdict: This is a unique and wonderful celebration of trying new things. It's definitely a different take on the typical grandparent picture book, which usually involves them visiting their grandkids and entertaining them. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780544104433; Published 2014 by Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Purchased for the library

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