The Steps Across the Water

291p. 978-1-42311-213-6.
Gr 5—7—Rose has an embarrassing speech impediment. Sometimes she switches around the beginnings of words, for example, calling her home, New York City, "U Nork" instead. During a trip to Central Park with her father and her brother, Oliver, from The King in the Window (Hyperion, 2005), she sees mysterious steps across the lake, but no one believes her. Soon after, classmate Ethan, now Louis, reveals to Rose that the steps are real and lead to U Nork, a flip-side New York City where, believe it or not, the pace is even faster and the people are ruder. Its citizens are in trouble, and it's Rose's face they've been seeing in the sky as the only one who can save them. The rip-roaring plot is laced with original and fantastical characters who fully enjoy 20-second lunches shot into their mouths with small cannons and use giant pigeons as taxis. Gopnik's writing is sharp and smart, and U Nork is an exciting place. Readers will cheer for Rose and her friends and have more than an occasional chuckle along the way. McCall's glossy, full-color, full-page illustrations are beautiful in their simplicity and help create the feel of a modern fairy tale.—Mandy Lawrence, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX
The magical steps located in Central Park lead Rose to U Nork, a fantastical city that's like New York but faster, ruder, and bigger--or is it? Unbeknownst to Rose, her connection to U Nork's history grants her the power to save it. An entertaining mind-bender for puzzle-loving readers to solve alongside Rose.

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