Amazing early MG GN!Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing book! It should be listed however as by Nadja Spieglman & Sergio Garcîa Sanchez. Sanchez is a professor of comics and a celebrated experimental comics artist – well deserved in that!
He is one of the authors in this collaboration as well – “About the Authors” clearly explains this was based on his own experiences of riding the subways, taking reference photos, and the two main kid characters are named after his own kids. Also – The colorist is his wife.

I wish I’d had this even at age 16. I’d moved back after 9 years away, to live with relatives for the summer. At my age, others expected me to take the subway on my own. It made me anxious and I really got lost a few times. Rode an entire line to turn around, because I was so scared to get further lost, not feeling I understood the map system and nobody to explain it to me. No cell phones back then.

Not saying this book teaches the entire subway routes, but through an adventure where a kid brand new to NYC and another student get lost on a trip to the Empire State Building, the lessons their teacher has imparted in the beginning sank in enough to help them through it. We see arrivals there from three different routes, and the artist manages to help us see the main characters throughout complex city scenes that could compete with Where’s Waldo, but with more realism and up close characters. Even where the main characters are shown in multiple positions within a complicated panel, they were easy to spot. Even when the panels go in complex ways, or talk opposes normal reading direction, it’s easy to follow or see in a second what he’s designed – which makes for more fun – and totally captures the feeling of NYC.

In the end, not only did the characters feel better, more confident and open, but that feeling was infectious. I lived in NYC in college, in Brooklyn and urban NJ for over a decade of my adult life, yet still have some anxiety when needing to take the subway. But this book is full of delightful fun – perhaps the perfect read while on the subway. Definitely before to help prepare one.

The facts throughout and the references in back matter about the subway system and Empire State Bldg elevator system are fascinating reads for any age.It makes you want to rush to NYC and start exploring. If that’s not enough, the back story where Sanchez tells how his photo taking created concern for a police officer who began chasing him, and his subsequent story within a story throughout this book had me going back to find the scenes of Sanchez and policeman.

It’s a short book, a fast read, but one that kids will want to explore many times over.

Belongs in any classroom imho, as it gives kids anywhere a window into the worlds of NYC culture, historical, science, and engineering facts about building tunnels, elevator systems, etc in such a fun way. The art alone is worth 5 points.

View all my reviews

Published by bonnie fireUrchin ~ pb illustration & writing

bonnie - birth name with a boring story behind it. fireUrchin - acquired by life - it being a bioluminescent sea urchin with a sharp outer protection, poison for those who step on it, yet offering a glowing light from within . . . while living close to the ocean floor . . . and offering protection and rides to fellow sea creatures like lobsters, crabs, small fish, octopus. Deep sometimes dark explorations may transform into light making.

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