The Steps Across the Water by Adam Gopnik

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Rose lives in New York, the city of bright lights and excitement—where extraordinary things happen every day. But Rose wasn’t born in New York; she was adopted and arrived there at age two; and though Rose loves her home and her adopted family, sometimes she can’t help but feel different, like she’s meant to be somewhere else.

Then one day in Central Park, Rose sees something truly extraordinary: a crystal staircase rising out of the lake, and two small figures climbing the shimmering steps before vanishing like a mirage. Only it isn’t a mirage. Rose is being watched—by representatives of U Nork, a hidden city far more spectacular than its sister city, New York. In U Nork, dirigibles and zeppelins skirt dazzling skyscrapers that would dwarf the Chrysler Building. Impeccably dressed U Norkers glide along the sidewalks on roller skates. Rose can hardly take it all in.

And then she learns the most astonishing thing about U Nork: its citizens are in danger, and only Rose can help them.

In this masterful new fantasy, best-selling author Adam Gopnik joins with legendary illustrator Bruce McCall to explore powerful themes of identity and the meaning of home.

About Adam Gopnik

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ADAM GOPNIK grew up in Montreal. He is best known as a staff writer for theNew Yorker, and as the author ofParis to the Moon, an account of five years he and his family spent in the French capital. He is also author of the children's bookThe King in the Window. BRUCE MCCALL is a Canadian author and illustrator best known for his contributions to theNew Yorker. He has also written sketches forSaturday Night Live. He lives in New York City. Visit him at
Published October 19, 2010 by Doubleday Canada. 304 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Children's Books. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Steps Across the Water

Kirkus Reviews

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A little girl learns the meaning of family in this fantasy adventure loosely based on Andersen's "Snow Queen" and set in both New York City and a parallel metropolis called U Nork.

Aug 31 2010 | Read Full Review of The Steps Across the Water

The New York Times

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Gopnik, a staff writer at The New Yorker, is perhaps best known as the author of a best seller for adults, “Paris to the Moon.” But he’s also written a previous children’s book, “The King in the Window.” And his illustrator, Bruce McCall, is responsible for a handful of playfully visionary books:...

Feb 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Steps Across the Water

Publishers Weekly

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Perhaps best suited to those familiar both with New York and the New Yorker, where Gopnik is a staff writer (one character is clearly modeled on Joseph Mitchell, the New Yorker writer who legendarily didn't produce a single story for 30 years), this will appeal to kids who already think Central P...

Oct 25 2010 | Read Full Review of The Steps Across the Water


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.

Nov 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The Steps Across the Water

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