There are a lot of literally pieces to the story Nelly Takes New York: A Little Girl’s Adventures in the Big Apple that I am not sure about or sure that I liked. These are things like Nelly wandering around modern New York City at about age eight or nine with only a cheeky beagle dog as a companion. And none of the adults think this odd. Now, I get that the vendor on the same street as Nelly would be someone she could speak with and visit solo, but going all the way to Central Park by herself? And the fact that the taxi driver flippantly seems to say, “Hope in! I will take you to this other place.” How does Nelly pay for items such as the ice cream she gets (even though Bagel, the beagle, does seem to purloin some for himself), the taxi ride and even entrance into museums?
However, the feeling and essence of the story is clever and fun. Nelly wants to find The Big Apple. Thinking it is a literal thing, she takes the advice of various adults and heads off to museums to find it, such as Central Park and other New York City landmarks. Allison Pataki and Marya Myers create a book that gives you a little peek at what New York the City is. And what Nelly learns about it and herself is as special as the city itself.
The illustrations are fabulously done by Krisit Valiant. Here is where any love I have for the book comes from. You can see New York through the eyes a precocious, young girl. The colors are alive, the people friendly and jazzy. They are people you would see in the city. There is much detail (such as Bagel’s ice cream caper that lends itself to being shared with a French bulldog as Nelly speaks with the French tourist family).
It is a book that should be on the TBR list and everyone will find the piece that speaks to them.