Category Archives: New York City

U is for….

A dying man’s cryptic last words are…

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

undertheeggTheodora Tenpenny’s grandfather was her world, and his tragic and unexpected death leaves her devastated and more than a little worried.  Her mother is eccentric and flighty, her 200 year old home is crumbling around her, and she has little more than $400 in inheritance to keep them afloat.  Worse, her grandfather’s dying words leave her with a mystery surrounding the painting hanging above the mantle, her grandfather’s job as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a secret dating back to World War II.  With some new friends, and creative detective work, Theo discovers that her grandfather wasn’t the man she thought he was, he was much more.  (MR-5/6)

This creative and touching story is a Paperback Pigeon All-Time Top 10 Favorite.


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Filed under A to Z, Art, military history, museum, mystery, New York City

L is for….

Libraries are the ticket to wondrous worlds.  Even if you never get on a plane, pack the car, or hop on the next train you can visit the world, both real and imaginary, in the stacks of a library.  Many children are first introduced to the unlimited magic of the library at storytime.  Captivated kids hang on every word the librarians read, and they always know the best books to share.  On your next visit to library pick up this all-ages read-aloud because, no matter how old you are you never out grow the library and, everyone loves storytime, especially…..

Library Lion by Michele Knudsen

librarylionThis is a charming tale of a special lion who comes to the library and is allowed to stay as long as he follows the rules.  The Library Lion soon becomes an indispensable helper to the head librarian and a welcome presence in the library.  But when he breaks a rule everyone at the library learns that sometimes rules need to be broken to help a friend. (PB)

nycpubiclibrary lionsThe New York Public Library branch on 5th Avenue & 42nd Street, Manhattan, NY is the home to two lion sculptures that welcome visitors.  Their names are Patience & Fortitude and have become the symbol of the New York Public Library System.


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Filed under A to Z, animals, Library, New York City, Picture Book

Marathon Musings*

*This post was written prior to October 26 – but published on Monday, October 27 due to some logistical difficulties*

Every once in a while I bite off more than I can chew.  Actually, I have a tendency to do this more often than I’d like to admit.  However, this time I’ve put all former instances to shame.  If all goes according to plan, the poorly thought out plan, this coming weekend I’ll be running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.

I began running in earnest after the birth of my dearest middle daughter.  You see, when I was expecting HuskyGirl there was nothing I wouldn’t eat.  All total I gained a 4th grader, a whopping 72 lbs of awesome for a tiny little 8 lb baby.   Nearly a year later I realized that I was unhappy in the body I was living in.   When I sent my 2 year old upstairs to get a diaper for the baby because the thought of climbing the stairs was exhausting, and I’d be out of breath by the time I got up there – something is wrong here.  On Mother’s Day that year we participated in a family walk for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester.  As we walked, we watched the runners in the all women’s 5K.  I wanted so badly to be those women – strong, powerful, fit.  So I made a commitment.  Next year I was going to run that race.    I started “running”.  I’m not gonna lie.  It was really hard.  I was really hungry.  At first I couldn’t even make it to the end of my street.  But slowly, I kept at it.  I registered for a 5k (my first race) and ran it that August.  However, when Mother’s Day came around I found myself walking the family walk again, this time because I was 39 weeks pregnant with Weezy-Jean.   So the next year… I ran it.  And I was hooked.  In fact I’ve run it for 8 years now, the last several with Shakespeare and HuskyGirl by my side.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are lots of days (most) that I dread running.  But I can’t dispute the results.  I have more energy when I expend energy.  I am less cranky and less stressed when I run.  I feel good in my skinny jeans and can have that piece of cheesecake without guilt.

The best result of running?  The many examples I set for my girls.  Strong is beautiful and powerful.  Do the most with the body you’ve been given.   Hard work pays off.   One of my favorite parts of running, even races, is that I’m never in competition with anyone else. (I’m not even in the same league as those winning these races).   I love the idea of being in a sport where I’ll never win, but keep trying.  Where success is simply doing my best on that given day.

So now I find myself trying to fathom how I’ll do my best for approximately 5 hours (or more!).   When in doubt, I turn towards literature for inspiration.   I’ve put together this short list of books that will help readers of all ages experience the marathon – without having to take a single step.

marathonmouseMarathon Mouse by Amy Dixon shares the story of one special little mouse who wants to defy the odds and join the New York City Marathon.  Trouble is no one believes he should do it.   The mice of New York dread marathon day – all those feet rumbling past could crush a little mouse.  But Preston is inspired – so he secretly trains and joins the run. This endearing story covers all the steps of the marathon – from training, to the inspiring first miles, to hitting the wall, to the motivating joy of seeing your family cheering for you – and is a lovely way for little ones to share in the marathon experience. PB

gsmouseislandmarathonThe Mouse Island Marathon – Geronimo Stilton is at it again!  This time his friend, the famouse fitness buff Champ Strongpaws, has signed him up for a marathon!  With intense training Geronimo makes it to the starting line, but will he survive the race?  With determined spirit and friends and family to cheer him on Geronimo is sure to tackle any obstacle that arises during the 26.2 miles! MR-3/4

*PBP Note: In miles 20-23 Geronimo survives a sandstorm, gets attacked by a swarm of mosquitos, falls in a pond, rescues a child from a burning building, deals with an earthquake and ensuing tidal wave, finds a lost watch, reunites a lost child with his mother, and helps an injured runner to the aid station.  I would have been unable to survive any of these “mishaps” after mile 20 – and probably wouldn’t have noticed if my pants were on fire.  Just sayin’ Geronimo takes some liberties here!

tsbigtroubleinthebigappleThea Stilton: Big Trouble in the Big Apple – The Thea Sisters are at it again!  This time Nicky is running the Big Apple Marathon and the Thea Sisters are off to New York City to cheer her on.  Excitement is at every turn with a rival runner from Ratridge Academy causing trouble, and someone threatening Paula’s family’s restaurant.  Can the Thea sisters solve the mystery and will Nicky finish the marathon?  As with other Thea Sisters books this story is full of action and adventure, but also packed with amazing factual information about New York City and Marathon running.  MR-3/4

breatheanniebreatheBreathe, Annie, Breathe  Miranda Kenneally brings us the story of Annie, a soon to be marathon runner.  After her boyfriend dies in an accident, Annie tries to fulfill his dream of running the Nashville Music City Marathon to honor his memory and to ease her feelings of guilt.  Through the grueling training period Annie wrestles with a new crush, a shift in her outlook on life, and as she starts to feel again comes to terms with her grief.  YA-9th grade & up Contains strong language and sexual content

*PBP ran the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 26 in Washington DC.  It was too hot, too crowded, too windy and too long!  However, it was an incredible experience – inspiring and exhausting. I laughed, cried, made new friends, and learned a lot about myself. Check that off the bucket list!

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Filed under New York City, Running

H is for….

Moving into a new house is an exciting new adventure, but none is more surprising than the discovery at…

The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber

The Primms are moving in to their new house on East 88th Street, and along with the usual hazards of a new house – like where to put the piano- is an unusual discovery.  There is a crocodile in their bathtub!  The Primms quickly discover that their crocodile is no ordinary lizard.  His name is Lyle and he is the well trained performance pet of Signor Valenti – who has left him in their care.  His love of turkish caviar aside, Lyle is a helpful pet who eagerly does chores and the Primms love him dearly.  But when Lyle’s skills make him famous will he have to leave the House on East 88th Street?  First published in 1962, this cute story will wow young readers and Lyle will become an important part of your family.

houseoneast88thstreetStart with the classic original story of Lyle and get to know his hometown of New York City, as he makes himself at home with the Primms at The House on East 88th Street.


lylelylecrocodileIn Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile a neighbor decides that Lyle shouldn’t live in The House on East 88th Street, but should be in the zoo.  It looks like Lyle will have no choice but to leave – until his heroics inspire a change of heart!

lylebirthdaypartyLyle and the Birthday Party  Oh, No!  Is Lyle sick?  Or is he feeling a bit down because he wants a birthday party, too?  How will Lyle deal with his new feelings of jealousy?  Will he be able to enjoy the party and find a way to be happy for his friend?

loveablelyleLovable Lyle There is no doubt that Lyle is a loveable crocodile, but suddenly Lyle starts getting mysterious mail and it is clear that someone doesn’t think Lyle is loveable at all.  No matter how he tries Lyle can’t convince Clover Sue Hipple and her mother that he’s a wonderful friend, until a trip to the beach shows them another side of Lyle that they learn to love.

lylefindshismotherLyle Finds His Mother
At the urging of his former employer, Hector P. Valenti, Lyle leaves the House on East 88th Street in search of his mother.

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Filed under A to Z, New York City, Picture Book, United States, zoo

E is for…

There is something magical, mysterious, and exciting about staying in a hotel.  But what if you lived there?  With the entire hotel to explore, your every whim taken care of, and room service just a phone call away it is sure to be an adventure every day!

Eloise by Kay Thompson

There is no more glamorous hotel residence than the classic Plaza hotel, right on Central Park in New York City.  Eloise, the Plaza’s most famous resident,  is at once endearing and terrorizing, ignored and adored, and full of confidence as she engages a cast of characters who work and reside with her.  With her pug Weenie, her turtle Skipperdee, and her champion and companion Nanny, Eloise takes charge!  Things don’t always go as planned for, as Eloise says, “After all I am only six”.    For a real life Eloise adventure check out the Plaza’s Family page to learn about the Eloise events or to stay in the Eloise Suite!  PB

eloiseEloise: A Book for Precocious Grown Ups is the original tale of the little girl at the top of the Plaza.  With distinctly darling drawings by Hilary Knight adults will delight in sharing this classic tale with their children during any hotel stay.

eloisechristmasEloise at Christmastime It’s the holidays at the Plaza and Eloise is determined to make sure everyone celebrates in true Eloise style.  A lovely complement to a trip to New York City at Christmastime.


eloisebawthEloise Takes a BawthWith Eloise nothing goes as planned, especially when you are taking a bath in the Plaza Hotel.  Enjoy this darling tale of a little girl who keeps everyone at the hotel on their toes and just one little drop out of the bath causes more trouble than you’d ever imagine.

eloiseparisEloise in Paris Bon Jour!  Eloise is leaving the Plaza and is ready to discover the City of Lights!  With Nanny by her side she is ready to do positively everything in Paris, with predictable Eloise results.



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Filed under A to Z, classics, New York City, Picture Book, travel