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The Steps Across the Water


The Steps Across the Water

written by Adam Gopnik, illustrated by Bruce McCall

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. The Ice Queen still threatens U Nork, but they have finally found someone to save them --- Rose!

Rose is shocked to find out that she’s the one who’s supposed to save U Nork, but the people have complete faith in her. As she looks for a way to help the people of this mysterious city, she finds herself in unexplainable situations. First there’s lunch with old Joe Murphy from her father’s office, who introduces her to three old sisters in a bookshop. Then there’s her father’s boss, Ultima Thule, who rides in a pink limousine and has an increased interest in everything Rose does. Rose isn’t sure who to trust, and saving U Nork means confronting her long-lost past and discovering hidden secrets behind every corner.

THE STEPS ACROSS THE WATER follows in the footsteps of many beloved adventures where kids are transported to a different time and place that mirrors society in supernatural ways. Rose is a trusty heroine who, despite her misgivings, never gives up hope of saving those who trust in her. It’s not every day that an entire planet’s future is placed into the hands of a child who is just looking to fit in with the rest of the world. Any kid who dreams of faraway places and saving the day will enjoy this follow-up to Adam Gopnik’s THE KING IN THE WINDOW.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on November 23, 2010

The Steps Across the Water
written by Adam Gopnik, illustrated by Bruce McCall

  • Publication Date: November 23, 2010
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • ISBN-10: 142311213X
  • ISBN-13: 9781423112136