A GREEN PLACE TO BE: THE CREATION OF CENTRAL PARK, by Ashley Benham Yazdani, Candlewick Press


How did Central Park become a vibrant gem in the heart of New York City? Follow the visionaries behind the plan as it springs to green life.

In 1858, New York City was growing so fast that new roads and tall buildings threatened to swallow up the remaining open space. The people needed a green place to be — a park with ponds to row on and paths for wandering through trees and over bridges. When a citywide contest solicited plans for creating a park out of barren swampland, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted put their heads together to create the winning design, and the hard work of making their plans a reality began. By winter, the lake opened for skating. By the next summer, the waterside woodland known as the Ramble opened for all to enjoy. Meanwhile, sculptors, stone masons, and master gardeners joined in to construct thirty-four unique bridges, along with fountains, pagodas, and band shells, making New York’s Central Park a green gift to everyone. Included in the end matter are bios of Vaux and Olmsted, a bibliography, and engaging factual snippets.

approx. 40 pages

Out March 12, 2019


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Taking a rather extraordinary historical moment and creating a picture book to help children visually see how the Central Park was created is quite the project to take on. This book definitely lays out the creative construction of the park, including many historical milestones such as the lake creation for winter skating and summer boating/trail enjoyment. The era is the 1800s when all this occurred.

The artwork that accompanies the story is interesting and detailed. The medium used was pencil and then watercolors.  The author is also the illustrator and her work is very colorful, the people are drawn clothed and behaving as those who lived in the 1800s. She did a good job of this.

The writing is geared toward an older demographic of kids, perhaps first readers to maybe chapter book readers, so ages six to perhaps, nine.  I can also see a teacher reading this to younger students in class and showing them the pictures, or, a parent assisting with reading at home.  Definitely an adult would be involved because of some of the words used.

Overall, this book is both entertaining and educational.  The artwork is engaging, informative and colorful enough to hold a child’s attention.  There’s a lot to see and I can see a child sitting with the book in their lap absorbing every detail. Even without the writing, the illustrations do tell a story on their own.

Definitely successful as a presentation and effective as a learning resource.

I gave this book: