Central Park Books for Kids

New York City has to be one of the greatest places in America, if not the world. Luckily for us, many authors have chronicled The Big Apple's antics in a way just right for kids.

Here are some of the books available. This is not yet a complete list, but I'm adding books to the list daily. If you wish to purchase any of these books, click on either the title or the book cover to be directed to Amazon.com. As a warning, I have put up pictures of the book covers to give you somewhat an idea of the style of each book (I know, I know. "Don't judge a book by its cover") so the pages may load slowly, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

The categories below are sorted by approximate age group and topical categories. Feel free to browse around. The same links are located on the left side of your screen. To return back to this page, simply click on the "Welcome" link on the left.

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Other Pages of Interest:
Fiction & Historical Fiction: General Books About New York City (Nonfiction) | Fiction NYC Picture Books and "Easy Reader" Stories (Ages 4-8) | Fiction NYC Books (Ages 9-12) | New York Fiction for Young Adults | New York Historical Fiction (Colonial Period and Revolutionary War) | New York Historical Fiction (Ellis Island & Immigration) | New York Historical Fiction (Life in the 1800s) | New York Historical Fiction (Life in the 1900s)

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Fiction and Nonfiction for Beginning Readers

Central Park Serenade

By Laura Godwin
While this book is an homage to Central Park, it is also a celebration of the people of New York City. The loving description includes verbal images and illustrations that work together seamlessly to present a joyful, busy portrait. Godwin's verses allow readers to feel as though they are in the park, hearing all the noises of a busy summer day. Buses pass by the entrance with horns blaring. Children cry, play, skate, and explore. With very few words, the author creates a living picture of the city and its green space. The illustrations are equally masterful. The proliferation of green and gold in the pictures reminds readers of the season and appear cool, calm, and serene, even with all the activity depicted. A multitude of families appears in the art, also highlighting the diversity of the city. Maps on the endpapers give readers an idea of the immensity of the area. This book will interest children who visit parks in their own town, but it will be a great addition to readers who may be traveling or want to learn more about New York. A true love song to Central Park.

Description from School Library Journal

Central Park hums with activity in this convivial paean to a beloved refuge in the heart of Manhattan. In breezy rhymed couplets, Godwin (The Doll People) conveys the park's sounds and sights on a summer day ("Striike one! Striike two! An umpire's call. Craaack! Whoosh! Retorts the ball"). Verses that describe people's varied doings alternate with the refrain, "And the pigeons coo And the big dogs bark And the noises echo through the park." Root's (Cowboy Dreams) vibrantly hued, intentionally hazy paintings chronicle the goings-on described in the text and then some. The spread for the title page offers readers a peek into the window of an apartment building, where a boy sleeps, a model sailboat hanging on the wall above his bed. On subsequent spreads, the boy (sailboat in hand) and his father leave their building and walk to the park, where they meet up with two young pals and sail their toy boats in the pond. The wordless subplot invites youngsters to follow its principal players while taking in the more encompassing portrait of the bustling park. Offering a melodic read-aloud, this aptly titled, buoyant book should please young city- and country-dwellers alike.

Description from Publishers Weekly

Catchy couplets and luscious full-bleed illustrations combine in this joyous celebration of a Central Park summer. The title spread, bathed in the golden glow of sunrise, sets the tone as a child, model boat above his bed, sleeps in his park-side bedroom. Rich earth tones emanate warmth as the child, boat in hand and father by his side, stands on the busy street corner about to enter the park. ("Beep, beep, beep, / A taxi calls. / But the traffic creeps and the traffic crawls / Honk, honk, honk. / A bus drives by. / A startled baby starts to cry.") The next spread offers a bird's-eye view and introduces the title's refrain: "And the pigeons coo / And the big dogs bark / And the noises echo through the park." Subsequent spreads highlight, among other events, a steel drum performance ("Boom, boom, boom, / A drummer plays"), and a baseball game ("Striike one! Striike two! An umpire's call. / Craaack! Whoosh! retorts the ball"). In all, the boy, his father, and friends blend into the background. The foursome finally comes into focus when they reach the boating pond. Buttery sails dominate the centerfold as the children kneel at water's edge with their remote controls. The final spread brings the story full circle as the boy hangs his boat above his bed and sunset settles over the park. Children will enjoy spotting the boy and his boat in each scene and the repeated refrain invites participation. Endpapers feature a map of Central Park with labeled landmarks. Very inviting.

Description from Kirkus Reviews


By John Lithgow

(Includes a CD of John Lithgow reading the text)
The team behind The Remarkable Farkle McBride returns with another high-spirited tale celebrating the arts. While young Farkle found joy in orchestral music, Micawber the squirrel is a lover of the fine art of painting. The refined New York City rodent makes a weekly scamper from his Central Park nest to the nearby "palace on Fifth Avenue" (the Metropolitan Museum of Art), where he can "feast... his eyes and his heart" on countless masterworks. On one such museum visit Micawber stows away among an art student's supplies and winds up in the woman's apartment, where he clandestinely uses her equipment to paint his own canvases, substituting his bushy tail for a brush. As months pass, the benign bandit assembles his own colorful gallery in his home atop the park's carousel. In a tighter, more linear text than Farkle, Lithgow conveys the sense of discovery and emotional enjoyment one can experience while observing or creating art. The vast majority of lines here have a musical rhythm, though young readers may need to puzzle out the meaning of words like "peregrination." Payne's mixed-media compositions capture an area of Manhattan at its clean, sunny best. His varying perspectives and occasionally paint-splattered backgrounds embrace all the exhilaration of Lithgow's words.

Description from Publishers Weekly

The team who created The Remarkable Farkle McBride now puts forth a delightful story of an art aficionado who happens to be a squirrel. The rodent visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art regularly, peering in through the skylight at his favorite works. One day, he slips into the paintbox of a student who'd been copying the great masters and becomes a stowaway on her journey home. All summer he explores the wonder of color and process while she sleeps, his tail serving as a brush, until he has enough art to start his own gallery atop Central Park's carousel. The last scene is a foldout of park friends with paper cups and cheese, attending his opening. The rhymed text sparkles with pleasing sounds like "beguiler" and "alizarin crimson," or intriguing terms such as "peregrination," all the while remaining completely accessible. White pages of narrative are splattered with paint. Lithgow's reading on the CD is brimming with texture and playful pomposity. The mixed-media illustrations depict an utterly fetching protagonist displaying a range of moods and poses. Endpapers reveal "self-portraits," with nods to Rembrandt and Rockwell. Kids will never again look at squirrels in quite the same way; indeed, they will wish to meet Micawber.

Description from School Library Journal

Baby Boid

By Robert McConnell
When Mr. and Mrs. Boyd find an unusual, abandoned baby bird in New York's Central Park, they take him home to the apartment above their bookstore. They are shocked a few days later when, after listening all day to Rock Radio, their newly adopted baby begins to talk!

Description from Publisher

Alfred the Ant: An Ant Who Lives and Has Fun in Central Park

(The First Storytelling Flip-Over Picture Book)

By Jehan Clements
Alfred the Ant: An Ant Who Lives and Has Fun in Central Park, is a cute and funny story with an environmental message. Children ages 4 to 8 will enjoy the pictures and words in this book that has been printed into a very unique format. The Storytelling Flip-Over Picture Book, ( US Patent # 5,713,743 ) uses a horizontal spiral binding. The children will see the pictures facing them on one side, at the same time, the storyteller reads the words from the other side. The storyteller is also provided with a reduced size picture that the children are viewing on the other side, at the same time, on the same page as the words. This unique book design will be very helpful to teachers and storytellers who are reading this book to a group of children in a school, library, or at home. Children love to play the game of "school". They like to play being the teacher. This book, printed into this unique format, will help them as they read to each other. Reading books out loud helps children improve their reading skills. You will be able to tell that they want to learn more, read more, when you hear them say; "It's my turn, let me try that!"

Description from Publisher

Jingle Bells

By Maryann Kovalski
Jenny and Joanna's holiday trip to New York City with Grandma is the framework for this lively contemporary version of the song favorite -- by the creator of The Wheels on the Bus.

Description from Publishers Weekly

A grandmother and grandchildren sing the title song while taking a carriage ride through Central Park in New York.

Description from Publisher

The Man Who Made Parks: The Story of Parkbuilder Frederick Law Olmsted

By Frieda Wishinsky
When the great cities of North America were being developed, there was little thought to creating “green spaces.” Frederick Law Olmsted combined his childhood love for nature with the structured beauty of the great parks of London and Paris to turn a neglected, swampy area into one of the most acclaimed parks in North America: Central Park in New York City.

Description from Publisher

New York City's Central Park Color and Activity Book

By Rachel Nickerson Luna
A Valentine to the Central Park Conservancy, which receives a portion of the proceeds. The book is packed with trivia which makes visiting the Park more interesting. For example, many people aren’t aware that Tavern on the Green was originally a sheepfold housing 200 sheep that grazed on the Sheep Meadow and were tended by a shepherd!

Description from Big Apple Parent

The Old Pirate of Central Park

By Robert Priest
In this wonderfully quirky story, two stubborn souls - a retired pirate and a retired queen - do battle in the sailboat pond in Central Park. Inspired by memories of his past, the Old Pirate has built a marvelous replica of his sailing ship, the Laughing Dog. But when he takes it to the park to launch it in the pond, he finds the waters are not so friendly - the S.S. Uppity Duchess is unwilling to share the seas and takes aim at the Laughing Dog. Who will rule the waves in this offbeat tale of high-seas adventure and friendship found in New York City?

Description from Publisher

Old Pirate, who longs for the days he spent as captain of the Laughing Dog, builds a replica of his ship and launches it at the Central Park Sailboat Pond. All goes well until a retired queen arrives to inaugurate her model ocean liner, the S.S. Uppity Duchess, which practically swamps every other vessel. After several rounds of verbal sparring and miniature cannon fire, the queen begs for a truce, and the pair makes peace--just in time for their afternoon naps.

Priest's enameled airbrush paintings offer a stylized, brightly colored view of New York City. Objects, and especially people, are depicted without extraneous detail, allowing the color palate to assume greater importance. Although the characters are all adults, their behavior is certainly childlike, which should appeal to the intended audience

Description from Booklist

The leap-at-you color and elegantly stylized illustrations, resembling airbrushed linoleum-cuts, give this book an instant allure; the storya noble tale of character and social leveling, mock drama and high mirthmore than meets the expectations aroused by that first impression. A retired pirate, out on a stroll in Central Park, is prompted by his memories to build a scale-model replica of his pirate ship and launch it in the park's sailboat pond. All is shipshape until an old queen arrives and has her servant launch an outsized linerthe S.S. Uppity Duchess. The liner barges about, swamping the other boats in the pond, but at the pirate's suggestion to slow her vessel, the queen opens fire on his ship. He responds with a broadside of his own and a great battle ensues; tiny cannonballs zing this way and that, people take cover, dogs and young children run riot, taxis on Fifth Avenue come to a halt. Then the queen calls a truce; she's in need of a nap, and from that needwhich the pirate sharesflows the notes of reconciliation. ``Peace and tranquility once again reigned at the pond. Sails were set, dogs recaptured, and gentle laughter returned to the soft summer air of New York City.'' Priest tells the story with dash and verve, whether in a turn of phrase or a line of art; it not only features a contemporary city with one of its great pleasuresthe parkin full flower, but a realm in which the wish for a little rest outweighs the wages of war.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Fiction for Older Readers

Lexi's Tale

By Johanna Hurwitz
The adventures of the guinea pig introduced in PeeWee's Tale (SeaStar, 2000) continue in this easy chapter book. He is befriended by Lexi, a squirrel that shows him how to survive the wilds of Central Park. Lexi has a vast extended family (including brother Madison, sister Sixty-two, and cousin Columbus), and he quotes extensively from his mother, passing along her wisdom to his pal. PeeWee, who has a near miss with the jaws of a dog, trusts humans and eventually convinces Lexi to believe in them, too. Brewster's soft, small pencil illustrations have a tender quality. This clever story is chock-full of positive messages, but also contains enough adventure and suspense to hold young readers' interest.

Description from School Library Journal

Lexi, a precocious squirrel, and PeeWee, an abandoned guinea pig, band together to help a hungry and friendless man in this latest Park Pals Adventure. Growing up in Central Park, Lexi has learned a lot from observation and even more from his enormous family. Wisdom like "Go dig for nuts, don't dig for trouble" prevents Lexi from helping the man initially, but PeeWee's trust and compassion convince Lexi and together they help the homeless man find food and eventually reunite with his family. Humorous anecdotes about the lives of squirrels and their views on humans add to this charming tale. Pen-and-ink drawings scattered through this small book depict Lexi training for the upcoming Squirrel Circus and show PeeWee's amazing ability to read. Although occasionally didactic, no one who reads this will ever look at these furry little creatures in the same way.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Peewee's Tale

By Johanna Hurwitz
A guinea pig in Central Park? PeeWee, once a boy's dear pet, has been secretly released into the wilds of Central Park. But instead of relishing his freedom, PeeWee is at first a stranger in a strange land--until he meets Lexi, a city-wise squirrel who gives his new stubby-tailed friend some tips as well as some confidence.

A series of eye-opening adventures--from the search for PeeWee's former owner to his discovery of the power of reading--turns a timid rodent into an endearing hero that will leave Hurwitz fans cheering for more.

Description from Publisher

A guinea pig narrates Hurwitz's (One Small Dog) endearing story of the furry fellow's adventures in New York's Central Park. Nine-year-old Robbie, though disappointed when his uncle gives him a guinea pig rather than a puppy for his birthday ("I ran around inside my cage, trying to act like a puppy," says the narrator), soon grows fond of PeeWee. Not so his skittish mother who, one day while Robbie is at a sleepover, instructs her husband to set the critter loose in Central Park. PeeWee is at loose ends in this alien environment, but his new pal, Lexi the squirrel, passes on survival strategies (e.g., "Don't count your nuts until they are shelled"). PeeWee responds in kind by using his unorthodox skill: he learned to read from his mother, who lived in a cage in a schoolroom, and warns Lexi about the city's plan to cut down the tree that Lexi calls home. Through PeeWee's perspective, Hurwitz delivers some humorous and insightful observations about the urban outdoors and brings the tale to a satisfying resolution. Brewster's engaging, black-and-white spot art will draw readers into this story, and the smaller-than-average trim size complements its diminutive star.

Description from Publishers Weekly

charming chapter book for newly independent readers. Your average guinea pig would be ill-equipped for the rigors of life in New York City's Central Park, but PeeWee is far from average. He has learned to read from the newspaper scraps on the bottom of his cage. That talent alone isn't enough to protect him from the myriad perils of the park, but fortunately PeeWee also befriends a squirrel who teaches him how to watch his back. The story is loaded with simple, generally nonintrusive messages about the values of friendship, freedom, and reading. PeeWee is an appealing protagonist, intelligent and resourceful and brave when it really counts. The park's animal inhabitants always act in character for their various species as they scratch, scamper, and dig their way around their leafy urban home. Brewster's black-and-white drawings depict PeeWee and his squirrel friend as rumpled, big-eyed cuties, but PeeWee's many brushes with danger provide more than enough drama to offset the occasionally excessive sweetness of the illustrations.

Description from School Library Journal

Peewee and Plush: A Park Pals Adventure

By Johanna Hurwitz
Here is an all-new Park Pals adventure from the author of PeeWee's Tale and Lexi's Tale. When Plush, a female guinea pig, ends up in Central Park, PeeWee thinks he'll have a family soon. But at first, Plush would rather listen to classical music than explore the wild outdoors with him. Then PeeWee finds out that winter will be coming-something neither of them have ever faced. And for once, PeeWee's best friend, Lexi, who always has something smart to say, doesn't have much advice. Will PeeWee and Plush overcome their differences in time to prepare for the bitter cold?

Full of surprises, and featuring an adorable cast of guinea pig babies, this action-packed tale about building friendship and conquering fear is sure to find a special place in readers' hearts.

Description from Publisher

PeeWee, the intrepid guinea pig, is back and now he has a mate. Timid Plush, the only other guinea pig that PeeWee knows in Central Park, is the object of his affection. A nameless man who figured out that PeeWee needed some companionship bought her and set her free in the park. At first, things don't look good for the young couple; while PeeWee has learned to embrace the life and breadth of the park, Plush longs for the coziness and comfort of her cage in the pet store, where food was abundant and humans held and stroked her. Eventually, her thirst and hunger force her to leave the hole that PeeWee has prepared for her. Their sweet relationship mirrors human ones: a misunderstanding causes a rift that takes time to mend, they learn to appreciate the hobbies and passions of the other, and eventually they learn the joys and challenges that come from raising a family. The joys of a burgeoning friendship and love delightfully unfold through the world of these two fluffy critters and their squirrel friend, Lexi. Whether they are listening to Puccini (Plush has learned to appreciate all things operatic during her time in the pet shop), or PeeWee is reading aloud from Thomas Hood's poetry (PeeWee learned a thing or two from his mother in the pet store too), or thinking of ways to protect their young family from approaching winter, PeeWee and Plush celebrate the many joys of life. The ample white space, sweet pencil drawings, and generous font make this a fine choice for the earliest reader. It's one of friendship, love, and working together that will warm all but the most jaded of hearts.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Falcon's Egg

By Luli Gray

  • ALA Notable Book
  • School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year

An enchanting world of secrets and magical creatures awaits readers in this charming story that begins with 11-year-old Falcon's happening upon a very unusual egg in Central Park. Knowing her mother would never let her keep it, Falcon confides, instead, in her neighbor Ardene Taylor and her great-great-aunt Emily, whose ornithologist friend soon becomes involved. The suspense builds as the four gather in Ardene's apartment every chance they get to keep watch on the egg, speculating about when, or if, it will hatch, and what kind of creature is inside. Not quite halfway through the book, the egg hatches, but the remainder of the story isn't anticlimactic. Actually, it's after the hatching that the adventure really begins. Gray has created a magical fantasyland of such realism that children will easily slip inside along with Falcon and linger even after the final page of the book has been turned.

Description from Booklist

When eleven-year-old Falcon finds a glowing red egg in Central Park, she decides to keep it. Falcon's book-illustrator mother is none too dependable, especially when a deadline looms, and so Falcon enlists the help of her great-great-aunt Emily, as well as one of her neighbors and an ornithologist at the Museum of Natural History - who comes in handy when what hatches out of the egg is a dragon. Falcon also acts as mother to her little brother, Toody, so she must work to balance caring for both Toody and Egg . As Egg grows, the adults around Falcon rally to provide her with the care and support she needs. The book ends on a note of parallel maternal love - as Falcon loves Egg, so her mother loves Falcon. Any tale of a resourceful girl living in New York City and aided by a collection of eccentric adults brings to mind E. L. Konigsburg's stories, but Falcon's struggle to raise and keep Egg - and, finally, to let Egg go - is wholly her own.

Description from Horn Book

Targeted to middle-grade children, this novel will intrigue them with a mythic creature who is the story's the centerpiece. The heroine, Emily Falcon Davies, has resiliently made her own path to compensate for her illustrator-mother's benign neglect. Falcon steers her younger brother Toody and herself through Manhattan locales, finding nurture from respectful adults who understand her needs and growing pains. One day she discovers a warm egg in Central Park that hatches into a dragon. Much intrigue and organizing is needed to hide a dragon in New York. As the hatchling grows, it must be moved continually and its ever-increasing appetite and need to fly become problematic. Falcon juggles the magic of the secret dragon with an unsatisfying school life, becomes closer to the adults who partake with her in the mystery of watching a dragon's life unfold, and finally, struggles to let the dragon live its own life. The story blends reality, myth, and magic in a plausible way.

Description from Children's Literature

A compelling rite-of-passage tale that moves right along to a satisfying conclusion. It's not unusual for a falcon to have an egg unless Falcon is an 11-year-old girl in New York City and the egg is red, hot, and discovered in Central Park. Falcon enlists the help of an older friend and neighbor to hide it until it hatches, fearing that her mother won't let her keep it. Soon elderly Aunt Emily; her ornithologist friend, Fernando Maldonado; and Falcon's younger brother join the cozy group that gathers to ponder the egg. When Egg hatches, she is a dragon. A solution to where she is to live works for a while, but in time Falcon realizes that Egg has to be free to look for others of her kind if indeed there are any. Each of the characters is rich in wit, wisdom, and human foibles. Clearly Falcon needs a little magic in her life as her artist mother is often totally absorbed in her work and the girl has to take responsibility for the household and her brother. Egg is the magic she needs but must give up. Though for a younger crowd than Anne McCaffrey's dragon books, this one is equally enticing and leaves readers longing for just a few minutes with a dragon. The real world blends well with the fantasy elements as tidbits of lore and locale are woven seamlessly. A book for any library serving young readers and dreamers.

Description from School Library Journal

The Lost Village of Central Park

By Hope Lourie Killcoyne
It's 1855 in New York City. You're ten, but you've never gone to school. Your home, Ireland, is a fading memory. Finally, after years of working as a maid with only your mother and the people you cook and clean for as companions, you're on the verge of getting your first best friend.

That is, if the slave catchers don't get her first...

The Lost Village of Central Park is set in one of New York's lost neighborhoods—Seneca Village. This isolated community was a six-block pocket in Central Park on New York's Upper West Side—before there was a Central Park, before there was an Upper West Side.

Seneca Village existed in a New York where black kids lucky enough to go to school went to segregated "colored schools," and most of the newly arrived Irish Catholic kids didn't go to school at all. Slavery was still legal in much of the country, and though not officially sanctioned in New York, slave catchers still grabbed their runaway quarry wherever they found them—free state or not.

The Lost Village of Central Park, a historical fiction chapter book, is recommended for eight to eleven year olds.

Description from Publisher

Hang a Left at Venus
(Zack Files)

By Dan Greenburg
When Zack and his dad come upon an alien whose spacecraft is running on empty in Central Park, it's easy enough to find more fuel (mayonnaise!), but retrieving the craft from the NYPD is quite a different story!

Description from Publisher

Evil Queen Tut and the Great Ant Pyramids
(Zack Files)

By Dan Greenburg
While on a class picnic in Central Park, ten-year-old Zack gets a chance to study ants close up and personal when he uses way too much of a classmate's diet powder and shrinks to the size of an ant.

Description from Publisher

How I Went from Bad to Verse
(Zack Files)

By Dan Greenburg
When Zack is bitten by a tick during a class trip to Central Park he succumbs to Rhyme Disease, which causes him to speak only in rhymes and to float like a helium balloon.

Description from Publisher

Invasion of the Nose Pickers

By Gordon Korman
Devin and his alien exchange student, Stan, are heading up to camp with their class. Their plans go awry, however, when Stan finds out that there is a mischievous alien on the loose in New York City. Stan uses his special nose computer to change the class's destination to the Big Apple and soon the class is camping out in Central Park!

Description from Publisher

The main gag in the whole series is that the aliens look like they are picking their noses, but they are really operating internal nose computers. Stan (the alien from planet Pan) and Devin (the earth boy) have a class camping trip but Stan uses his nose computer to change the location of the trip to NY city. Soon they are camping in Central Park, but there is a 200-foot green robot on the loose sucking power from the planet Pan's main energy source. Their mission is to stop the giant robot!

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

The Kingdom of Kevin Malone

By Suzy McKee Charnas
Amy, 14, is roller-skating in Central Park when Kevin, a tough Irish kid from her old neighborhood, suddenly runs by and pins onto her jersey a trinket he took from her long ago. Running after him, she passes through an arch and into the kingdom that Kevin has created to escape his father's brutality. There, Amy is drawn into Kevin's struggle with his archenemy Anglower, returning to the real world to bring Kevin a magic sword. In the end, Kevin defeats Anglower, who turns out to be a reincarnation of his brutal, drunken father. Amy returns home, but Kevin stays in his kingdom. Charnas blends tough, gritty young New Yorkers who have real problems--Kevin's dad, Amy's recent loss of a beloved cousin--with the standard elements of troll-and-mole fantasy. The mix is uneven, but it does make an engrossing story.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

When Kevin Malone -- a boy Amy has not seen for years -- lures Amy into chasing him through Central Park, they both end up in a fantasy world that Kevin imagined as a boy and now lives in as a prince. While traveling between worlds to retrieve the magic object that will save the kingdom, Amy interacts not only with Kevin and the creatures, both friendly and menacing, of the Fayre Farre but also with her friends and family. The plot is entertaining; the unique premise will fascinate fantasy fans.

Description from Horn Book

Charnas melds the world of the teenage problem novel with that of fantasy in a story that pokes gentle fun at the conventions of fantasy fiction. Bereft at the untimely death of her beloved aunt and confidant, Amy goes roller skating in Central Park with her best friend, Rachel. Suddenly, someone bumps into Amy, pinning a rhinestone rose on her sleeve--the very pin that her aunt had given her and that Kevin Malone, the neighborhood bully, had stolen from her years earlier. Amy gives chase and, skating through the arch of a bridge, finds herself in the Fayre Farre, a world Kevin has created and peopled with all sorts of fantasy creatures in order to escape his abusive father. Here, Kevin is prince and Promised Champion, destined to save the land from the evil White One. However, Kevin's creation has gotten away from him; he's ill-prepared, and a prophecy not of his making says that the help of three princesses is needed to "bring the prince worthily to his throne." The action is fast paced as Amy brings two friends and a pocket knife/magic sword into Fayre Farre and events move inexorably to the final confrontation. The juxtaposition of Central Park and Fayre Farre is nicely done, adding to the sense of mystery, which is also conveyed in the attractive, beckoning shaded black-and-white frontispiece and chapter heading illustrations. Though the somewhat quick acceptance of magic by all three girls is not quite believable, Amy is a convincing and likable heroine, and Kevin, in all his emotional frailty--tough exterior, internal vulnerability--rings true.

Description from Booklist

Kelly 'N' Me

By Myron Levoy
Anthony, 15, helps his mother, a has-been actress, pay the bills by playing guitar in Central Park. One day he meets Kelly Callahan, a girl with a beautiful voice, singing in the park, and they work up an act together. They become successful street performers--and fall in love. But Kelly is not who she claims to be. When she reveals her true life, their friendship is severely tested.

Description from Publisher

Sensitive, guitar-playing Anthony Milano meets the mercurial singer Kelly in Central Park and finds that they make quite a team -- as musicians and as more-than-friends. But Kelly's problems as a rebellious, guilt-ridden child of rich parents are too great to be solved by teenage love alone, and Anthony, who owes allegiance to his own troubled mother, must choose how best to help. Rich characterization with a fairly simple but involving plot make this appealing reading and excellent discussion material.

Description from Horn Book

Non-Fiction for Older Readers

Parks for the People:
A Story about Frederick Law Olmsted

By Julie Dunlap
As with others in the series, this biography begins with an incident from the subject's early life, in this case Olmsted's first visit to Niagara Falls. After this somewhat fictionalized scene, Dunlap writes a fairly even and honest account of the first landscape architect in the U.S. Readers learn about the problems that Olmsted and Calvert Vaux had in raising money to build Central Park and their struggles with politicians and budget constraints to bring the project to fruition. The author shows that Olmsted ran into similar problems when he designed plans for protecting Yosemite from the same influx of commercialism that had ruined Niagara Falls. Very little of the subject's private life is included. A list of important parks is appended, as well as a good bibliography

Description from School Library Journal

{This} is a good book for the younger reader. The material is interesting and informative, but is not as in-depth as one would like. . . . There is a message of dedication and perseverance with the transfer of love of natural beauty into parks for all to enjoy. The book gives references for further reading and serves to highlight Olmsted as a role model for our present society.

Description from Science Books & Films

Exploring Parks with Ranger Dockett

By Alice K. Flanagan
Follows an urban park ranger as he tends to the ponds, fountains, plants, and animals in his care and teaches people about the parks that form an exciting outdoor classroom.

Description from Publisher

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