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The Steps Across the Water Hardcover – November 23, 2010

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Oliver, the hero of Gopnik’s The King in the Window (2005), plays second banana to his fourth-grader sister, Rose, in this inventive fantasy adventure. A chance occurrence—well, maybe it’s chance—leads New Yorker Rose across a hidden bridge to U Nork, an Oz-style secret city that’s in many ways a mirror of New York (instead of Central Park, they have Sin-Trail Park). In other ways, though, it’s different: buildings are so tall it takes all day to ride elevators, and life is so hectic that cooks use cannons to fire meals across the street into diners’ waiting mouths. It’s a wonderfully imagined blend of 1920s detail—everything is marble and mahogany, and zeppelins are prevalent—with a fantastical drama involving a mystical invader known as the Ice Queen, who is hell-bent on destroying the city . . . and guess who’s supposed to stop her? The wackiness, deliriously inventive at first, eventually generates diminishing returns, but this will capture plenty of fancies, and Gopnik’s love of New York—a place where “it’s secret upon secret upon secret”—is infectious. Grades 4-7. --Daniel Kraus

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; First Edition, First Printing edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142311213X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423112136
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #817,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. R. Norton on January 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Adam Gopnik's The Steps Across the Water is a charming and inventive fairytale about New York City (or U Nork. If you are a New Yorker, or a frequent visitor to the city, you will recognize many of the author's inventions in the novel. If you are not, don't worry--it will give you a marvelous introduction to an epic city. The heroine of the book is smart, brave and ingenious and people may recognize her brother as the protagonist in another novel by Adam Gopnik, The King in the Window (a fairytale about Paris). Whether you are an older child, a teen, young adult, or adult, this book is an excellent read, and is great for reading aloud, as well.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on January 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Rose couldn't quite believe what she saw in Central Park, New York City. And if she couldn't believe it, chances are no one else would either. She saw a glass staircase coming out of the water with a couple of figures beckoning her to climb the steps across the water. Before she made up her mind, though, her adopted father and brother called her name, and that was that. Even as Rose settled into her usual routine, she didn't forget the strange staircase calling her name.

The usual routine consisted of shopping for her favorite thing --- snow globes --- and attending school. Snow globe shopping always put Rose in a good mood as she hoped to find the ones that looked realistic, as if there was a real city trapped inside. School, on the other hand, was not Rose's favorite, even when they took trips to the Empire State Building. The latest trip there, though, was unlike any other. Her friends started talking funny, as if they were someone else, asking Rose to return to the steps in Central Park and travel to U Nork. She also could have sworn there was a pink limousine driving up the side of the building. Regardless, she promises to return to the steps.

When Rose finally does cross the steps into U Nork, she enters a city unlike any other. The skyscrapers rise higher than any building in New York. Cars are open-sided and travel up the sides of buildings. Old-fashioned balloons fill the skies, and giant pigeons dart around the balloons carrying people and towing packages. What kind of place was U Nork exactly? Rose is in awe of the city, but she's even more in awe of how it came to be. U Nork used to be a planet at the edge of the solar system before the threat of the Ice Queen forced them to hide beneath the city of New York.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John E. S. Lawrence on February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
what kind of a childrens' book has a price tag just short of a hundred bucks? Putting it out of range of all but an infinitesimal fraction of the world's children? what am I missing?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gave this to my granddaughter who was on her way to Paris with her family. She loved it and read it in a day…at 10 years old for goodness sakes!! She is an avid reader and was thrilled to go to France soon after.. i won big points!!!
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