Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Steps Across the Water” as Want to Read:
The Steps Across the Water
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Steps Across the Water

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  22 reviews

Ten-year-old Rose lives in New York, the city of bright lights and excitement, and a seemingly endless variety of people, architecture, and foodwhere extraordinary things happen every day on every block. But Rose wasn't born in New York; she was adopted as an infant from a far-away country. Though Rose loves her home and her adopted family, sometimes she can't help but

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 23rd 2010 by Hyperion Book CH (first published October 19th 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Steps Across the Water, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Steps Across the Water

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  91 ratings  ·  22 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Steps Across the Water
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
very nice story and ideas, the writing decidedly less so. Would not give to anyone older than 10
2018 Reading Challenge - A book that involves a bookstore or library
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Rose, the younger sister of Oliver from Gopnik's other kids' book, The King in the Window, has a little bit of a speech impediment: she's prone to Spoonerisms, switching the starts of her words to say, for example, "U Nork" instead of "New York." She's adopted—she was born in Russia, and lived in an orphanage there 'til she was two—and the speech therapist thinks her trouble with words is due to some early trauma. And though Rose likes her adopted family, she sometimes wishes for things to be ...more
Canadian Children's Book Centre
When a glass staircase suddenly appears over the lake in Central Park, Rose is suitably shocked. When it vanishes just as suddenly, and neither her father nor her brother believe her when she tells them about it, she is keenly disappointed. This is only the beginning of Rose’s adventures, however — adventures which ultimately lead her to U Nork, the land on the other side of the staircase. When Rose ventures into this strange new city, so like and yet so very different from the New York that she ...more
Zara Raab
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
U Nork, U Nork!!

Rose’s father reads her bedtime stories about the Princess of the Northern Snows, but it is Mr. Murphy who tells her stories of old New York, and leads her on explorations of the city. One day, Rose notices she is being followed by a long, pink limousine, behind whose tinted windows glow catlike eyes. Then a mysterious stairway across the water leads Rose to the universe of U Nork, a gulag of ugliness, violence and unfairness, where citizens travel by carrier pigeon and a Supway
Shonna Froebel
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This children's novel is a fantasy book set partly in New York City, and partly in U Nork, an alternate city with deep connections to New York City. The main character is a young girl named Rose who lives with her parents and older brother in Manhattan. Rose often doesn't feel she fits in, and has problems making friends at her private school. She also has a speech impediment which causes her to mix up words (like calling New York, U Nork) and makes her self conscious. She is adopted from ...more
Nick Duretta
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
This was very clever and inventive, although it was a challenge to put all of the pieces together to come up with any kind of comforting moral that one would expect at the end of such a tale (a la Wizard of Oz, which this book references a couple of times). Yes, the evil villain gets vanquished, and the bizarre city of U Nork is saved, and our heroine Rose finds her grandfather, but it all adds up to a mild "so what?" Kids may like this, I suppose.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I am not a big fantasy reader, but this book did have some nice imaginative touches. I got bogged down in too many details occasionally, but some of the touches were fun, such as the restaurant. People who have been to New York will definitely appreciate many of the references. I liked the way some of the plot twists came together in the end, and I did like the illustrations.
Oct 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I almost didn't read this book because I didn't very much like the writing in one of the author's previous books. The writing here, however, flowed much better, so the story held together better. It still felt derivative of other, better books, but the story wasn't bad.
Cheryl Meibos
Adam Gopnik writes for the New Yorker and there is some clever writing although I wondered
if children would get/appreciate the double meaning humor. A fairly entertaining trip to another world as the mystery unfolds.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!!!!! I can not believe how good it was!!! It was so interesting! I read this for school last year and i really liked it. I plan on buying this book very soon! If you not read this book already read it now, you do not know what you are missing out on!!!!!!!
Adam Gopnik understands theoretically how this kind of story is supposed to work (see, for example, his piece on C. S. Lewis in the New Yorker). Unfortunately, he doesn't quite make it work here.
Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: disney-hyperion
Companion to The King in the Window (features the same family). Rose discovers a fantasy world that needs her help. Allusions to Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz. Full color illustrations are not spectacular but are rich and vibrant.
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is about how Rose goes from one city to another: New York to U Nork and then vice versa. I enjoyed this book a lot and no, I'm not going to give any spoilers but all I can say is that there is a plot twist.

I also enjoyed this book so much that I borrowed it twice from the library
Jun 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
A bit confusing and I never really cared much about Rose. The relationship she has with her brother is so unrealistic and almost seems suspect. I still don't get why Rose is famous in U Nork.

Don't waste your time.
Arianna Ridgeway
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really like this book. I love the pictures. I really like the characters. I think the idea of U Nork is really good. Though I thought the villain of this book was kind of already used and I didn't think it went well with the story. But it is still a really good book.
Not fabulous, but pretty fun. I think things were often a bit too "coincidental" to be believable. There were also a few moments that were channeling Horton Hears a Who - kind of funny. (Yop!)
Christopher Roden
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Read as consideration for a literary award, so not able to rate at the present time.

A quite delightful read.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Strange, hard to stay interested. Didn't finish it.
Kitty Crino
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book EVER, and I recommend it to EVERYONE and ANYONE!!!!
Josh Newhouse
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Companion to another book... So far very gentle, nicely put together... Not crazy about art particularly on cover... Some neat concepts but not for me.
rated it it was amazing
May 17, 2016
rated it liked it
Jan 18, 2014
rated it liked it
Jun 06, 2011
rated it it was ok
Apr 26, 2012
Mandy Laferriere
rated it it was ok
Oct 30, 2013
rated it it was ok
Oct 02, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Nov 20, 2014
rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2013
rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (Midde School, #1)
  • Boys in the Trees
  • Kiss Number 8
  • The Vagina Monologues
  • Loba
  • The Napping House
  • Stellaluna
See similar books…
An American writer, essayist and commentator. He is best known as a staff writer for The New Yorker—to which he has contributed non-fiction, fiction, memoir and criticism—and as the author of the essay collection Paris to the Moon, an account of the half-decade that Gopnik, wife Martha, and son Luke spent in the capital of France.