Review: Not for Parents – New York City – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

If there’s one way to get a kid to read a book, label it “Not for Parents.” That will attract their interest. As a travel writer, I collect guidebooks from the places we go, and try to get kid-friendly ones so my kids will take an interest. Usually they don’t. They were interested, however, in this Not For Parents: New York City – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know. But of course I had to sneak away and read it too.

Though it’s published by Lonely Planet, it’s not actually a guidebook, but a great way to get to know a city we visit often. As expected, it’s quite colorful with cute illustrations from a number of artists. Inside it tells the story of everything from street food, to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, to wild animals in the city (yes, rats are included).

I asked my kids what they liked, and they said they liked the illustrations and most of the chapters (each “chapter” is 2 pages and covers one topic). The topics my daughter didn’t like had nothing to do with the actual content – she just doesn’t like those subjects at all (i.e. sports). The kids also thought the book was funny.

Best way to share the book with you is to share interesting facts I learned:

-the apple muffin is the state’s official muffin

-anyone who owns a building in Times Square is required by law to attach an illuminated sign to the outside.

-Central Park used to be a swamp

-Brooklyn Bridge workers sometimes sleep in hammocks on the cables. Some fell to their death in the East River.

-the Bronx Zoo helped save the bison from extinction by sending them west in 1907

-The Museum of Modern Art was started by three women, and it was considered “outrageous” when it opened.

-over half the people in NYC don’t own a car

-Guess what was invented in New York City: toilet paper, air conditioning, locks using a jagged key, packaged gelatin with flavoring, the tuxedo, the elevator

They also have these Not for Parents books for Paris, London and Rome.

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