Cover image for A city is
A city is
Rosten, Norman, 1914-1995.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 2004.
Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
An illustrated collection of poems about New York City.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



A city is
streets crossing,
fire trucks,
great towers of stone,
one red geranium
on a windowsill.

A tribute to New York City for the very young by a distinguished poet

In this evocative collection of poems about the uniqueness and diversity of the city of New York, savor the beauty of Manhattan from spring through winter. Visit the pocket parks, the sky-high buildings, the bustling streets and celebrate the Fourth of July on the banks of the rivers that surround the city. This tribute by a talented poet and playwright is brought to life in detailed, vibrant illustrations.

Author Notes

Norman Rosten was a celebrated author, poet, and playwright of adult works, many of which were inspired by his hometown of Brooklyn, New York. The poems for A City Is were collected and edited by Mr. Rosten's daughter, Patricia Rosten Filan, after his death in 1995.

Melanie Hope Greenberg has illustrated a number of children's books, including Bethany Roberts's The Wind's Garden . Shortly after beginning her career as a children's book illustrator, Ms. Greenberg met Norman Rosten at a children's bookstore in Brooklyn. He encouraged her by saying "You're a pro. Would you care to read some of my poems that are appropriate for children?" After several years, those poems became A City Is and, by illustrating them, Ms. Greenberg learned even more about her beloved New York City.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. While buildings sleep / the moon is drifting / like a toy balloon / over Brooklyn Bridge. True to American poetic tradition, these very simple poems by the late Rosten, the first poet laureate of Brooklyn, celebrate both the big picture and the close-up, tiny detail. The streets are crowded with traffic beneath the great towers of stone--and there's a red geranium on a windowsill. Greenberg's clear, collage-style gouache illustrations on watercolor paper show the city through the day and night and through the seasons, especially as they occur in New York. The park is busy with people playing ball and chess, and working out in Tai Chi groups, while a kite sails in the sky. The diversity of the neighborhood is part of the story, and children will enjoy the view of people they know in a busy, magical place in both sunshine and snow. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-Written in free verse, the selections in this collection of short poems about New York City vary in tone and content. Some are evocative pieces that gently call up images of modern urban life: "A city is/streets crossing,/fire trucks,/bridges,/sirens,/great towers of stone,/and/one red geranium/on a windowsill." Others are specific to New York, describing the Staten Island Ferry ("Hurry, take the ferry!/By day it's cool,/by night it's starry,/and the whistle's always friendly"); local landmarks ("the moon is drifting/like a toy balloon/over the Brooklyn Bridge"); or a "pocket park." Done in colorful gouache, Greenberg's double-page paintings mimic a youngster's two-dimensional style. Observant readers will find the same mother and child in many of the illustrations, quietly connecting one poem to another. These pleasant offerings are suitable for cozy one-on-one sharing. However, the book would also fit nicely in a storytime about urban life, combined, perhaps, with such works as Carole Boston Weatherford's Sidewalk Chalk (2001) or Nikki Grimes's C Is for City (2003, both Boyds Mills).-Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.