A 2015 Caldecott Honor Book
In this magical picture book, a young boy spends an overnight visit with his nana and is frightened to find that the city where she lives is filled with noise and crowds and scary things. But then Nana makes him a special cape to help him be brave, and soon the everyday sights, sounds, and smells of the city are not scary—but wonderful. The succinct text is paired with watercolor illustrations that capture all the vitality, energy, and beauty of the city.
"I love my nana," a boy explains, "but I don't love the city." She greets him with a hug, but he's still nervous. "The city is busy," he says (crowds press in). "The city is loud" (a whistle shrieks). "The city is filled with scary things" (the boy shrinks from a homeless man holding out a cup). "It is no place for a nana to live," he concludes. While he sleeps, nana knits him a gift a big red cape. A series of vignettes shows him wearing it the next morning, striking delighted poses. With new courage, the boy discovers a city he hasn't seen before one full of life, wonder, and pretzels for homeless men: "It is the absolute perfect place for a nana to live," he decides. Castillo (The Troublemaker) examines childhood anxiety and the crucial love of grandparents with sensitivity, while her portraits of the city's challenges are honest and affectionate. It deserves a place on the shelf of classic New York City picture books. Ages 4 8.