Dec 29, 2012

One Times Square- for New Year's Eve!

***Even if you aren't able to get your hands on this title before New Year's Eve, 
take the time to explore it during the year ahead.***

David R. Godine, Publisher. 2012

My familiarity with Times Square is limited to the view from Discovery Channel's CASH CAB window. I'm willing to bet, though, that even those who walk the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Broadway on a daily basis would be as intrigued as I was by the detailed history of this iconic site portrayed in the 2012 picture book, ONE TIMES SQUARE: A CENTURY OF CHANGE AT THE CROSSROADS OF THE WORLD. Written and illustrated by Joe McKendry, the creator of BENEATH THE STREETS OF BOSTON, this view of Times Square is a fascinating trip through time and history.
David R. Godine, Publisher. 2004

McKendry starts the story at the beginning, when Broadway was Bloomingdale Road on the old Eden Farm in the early 1800's. He guides the reader through time with maps and art that evoke sepia-toned photographic images, vignettes of larger-than-life characters who shaped the heart of the city, and overlaid diagrams that allow you to place the past in the context of the present. Every detail contributes to the sense of time and place, including clothing, hairstyles, vehicles, historic references, iconic images, and signage.
Kirkus Review offers praise for the unexpected history of this very famous intersection.

Sandpiper paperbacks, 1978

In much the same way that Virginia Lee Burton's classic THE LITTLE HOUSE shows the effects of urban development across generations, the transformation of a century is compressed into the pages of a picture book. In that case the text and images are equally informative for younger readers.

McKendry, though, reveals considerably more with his gritty content, meticulous accuracy for dates and data, and a double-page spread in which the two year deconstruction/reconstruction of the Times Square Tower is depicted from September, 1963 through June, 1965.

His final pages include some challenging questions about what the future may hold for this landmark site, as well as references and acknowledgements.

Whether you'll be awake to watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve or catch a clip of it on the news or YouTube, you'll see it from an  entirely new perspective after reading McKendry's book.


  1. I love the book One Times Square when I read it. I don't much like going to Times Square but love the history. And no, I will not be there tonight.

    1. I'd love to be able to explore it on a clear, quiet day with no crowds... hmm, not much chance of that happening, is there? Well, the book will suffice!


Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.