Friday, July 9, 2021

Places to Visit - London and New York City

With summer here and places beginning to open up again after being closed to visitors for the past year and a half, it's time to put on our traveling shoes again. Wondering where to go and what to see with the kids? May I suggest New York City? It's big, it's fun and there's lots of things to see and do that are perfect for kids, and I have just the right travel book for the family's visit - Little Kid, Big City! New York
Little Kid, Big City! New York
written by Beth Beckman, illustrated by Holley Maher
Quirk Books, 2021, 88 pages
Whether you are a first time visitor or a native New Yorker like I am, this is an ideal book for a family vacation in the Big Apple. Sure, it includes all the usual touristy hotspots, but it also includes places to go and things to eat that many people might not know about or think of doing. And it is chockablock with all kinds of interesting, often historical information about different places.  

Begin with a ride on the Staten Island Ferry for great views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the NYC skyline. Take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, enjoy a bagel like no other in the world in a real New York deli or perhaps a slice of New York style pizza (hint- real New Yorkers fold their pizza in half to eat it). There are places to visit in all the boroughs, like Coney Island in Brooklyn where I recommend the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel followed by a Nathan's famous (hot dog, that is), or the Bronx Zoo and a game at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field for Mets fans. The beauty of this travel book is that you decide where to go. In the lower corner of each right hand page are two suggestions of where to go next. There are museums to see, and now even Broadway shows are beginning to open again. 

There are no photographs of any of the sights, but the illustrations, done in a limited color palette, are whimsical and have definite child appeal. Our tour guides are a family with a young son and a dog, as well as their friends. The dog isn't leashed which is ok in a book, but DO NOT DO THIS IN REAL LIFE! There is an Adventure Index at the back of the book that gives more details and recommends places to find the food mentioned throughout the book in all the different neighborhoods. And there is a map at the end of the book, but it mostly sights and where they are in the different boroughs (there are five of them). Adults should gets a real map, which includes streets, and a subway and bus map. 

I really enjoyed reading this book and discovered a few facts even I didn't know about. You can download an extensive Travel from Home Activity Kit for Little Kid, Big City! New York HERE

And don't forget to visit The Strand bookstore, where as of June 15th, you could probably find a copy of Little Kid, Big City! London. So,...

Little Kid, Big City! London
by Beth Beckman, illustrated by Holley Maher
Quirk Books, 2021, 88 pages
Following the same chose your own adventure format as Little Kid, Big City! New York,  this book takes us across the ocean to London, England, a city I consider my home away from home and one that I love just as much as NYC. Our guides for our London adventure are an interracial same-sex couple, with their baby and older daughter, and their dog, a corgi. Begin your adventure with a walk over Tower Bridge leading to the Tower of London, and if you're brave enough, you can walk over the high glass walkway and look down on the River Thames. Once in the Tower of London, visit the ravens and the Crown jewels. Hungry? Borough Market has over 100 vendors and a wide variety of different food from around the world. Across the Thames, you can see a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theater, a replica of the original. But on a hot, sunny day, don't buy a standing room only ticket - it get really hot where you stand. 

Westminster Abbey is a must see, there is so much history in this one place. Then head over to the London Eye for a ride or maybe try the world's longest, tallest, fastest tunnel slide - both fun but not for the faint hearted. Kids will want to visit King's Cross Station and take a picture of themselves crossing the portal to the Hogwarts Express, and don't miss a ride of the famous double decker red buses. That top front seat can feel just like a real thrill ride sometimes. Also highlighted are trips to Chinatown, Hamley's for seven floors of toys and games, then stop and enjoy some afternoon tea, and don't forget to try those famous Fish and Chips. 

Like Little Kid, Big City! New York, there is an Adventure Index with more information and recommendations for all the places visited by our family of guides, and the same kind of map showing where the sights are but with not details. Be sure to pick up a real map so you don't waste time getting lost. 

Whether you are venturing out to explore either of these cities or are still an armchair traveler, both of these books are as charming as they are informative and interesting and will surely wake up your wanderlust. 

These books are recommended for kids age 7+
These books were gratefully provided to me by Gabrielle Bujak at Quirk Books

1 comment:

  1. Both of these sound like fun books to read with young readers, as well as valuable ways to learn about sights to see in NYC and London! I actually kind of like that the books use illustrations instead of photographs—in a way, I can imagine that gives them more personality. I also like that the narrators of the books are diverse! And I didn't realize you are from New York, which is so neat—I've always wanted to visit NYC at some point! Thanks so much for the great post!


Imagination Designs