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Big Apple Books: A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park

Happy publication day to A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park, written and illustrated by Ashley Benham Yazdani! I recently received this book for review, and it's a wonderful addition to my Big Apple Books collection (and not just because spring is in the air).

A Green Place to Be takes you back to the mid-1800s in New York City, when the city was rapidly growing in every area but sorely lacking in green space. Architect Calvert Vaux convinced the city to hold a design contest for a new park, which he planned to enter & win himself. He joined forces with  Frederick Law Olmstead, park superintendent, and together they created the plans for what we now know as Central Park.

My daughters have really enjoyed reading this book, picking up fun little discoveries along the way. Did you know that Vaux and Olmstead originally named the park Greensward? That when the Ramble first opened, there were musicians in boats floating around the lake entertaining everyone? What a wonderful scene that must have been! Our favorite section, however, is the description of "The Children's District," which was an area of the park designated for kids, including a dairy for fresh milk, a petting zoo (sound familiar?), croquet lawn and a field for playing baseball.

Yazdani's illustrations are so whimsical and dreamlike, they make you want to jump in the picture, Mary Poppins-style. And the writing is educational and informative without being dry, which we parents always appreciate. Meanwhile, I personally loved learning that Calvert and Vaux meticulously chose every plant, tree and flower and its placement in America's first large public park.

We loved learning about the history of NYC's most treasured outdoor space, and I highly recommend adding A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park to your own collection. I think I know where we're going to be hanging out this weekend... 🌲🌳

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