It is 1904, and a new amusement park is being built in Coney Island. Unfortunately, the construction is happening right on the dunes that Selena, a scrappy little rabbit, calls home! From her trolley car one day, Millie spots Selena, and the two become fast friends. Together, they discover and confront the men and the machines that are doing something extraordinary– building a modern, even futuristic, theme park - while also doing something destructive to the land and its inhabitants. Their mission to save Selena’s home becomes quite an adventure!
Filled with historical accuracy and a captivating tale in and of itself, this book takes readers on a ride through the old Coney Island. We follow Selena and Millie as they explore the sights and thrills of Luna Park for the first time. Against the fantastic and extravagant backdrop of creator Fred Thompson’s Luna Park, the story reaches a dramatic height in the nighttime Coney Island, lit up by thousands of Edison bulbs! We hold our breath as they also encounter the “mean” men with the bulldozers. Can Millie and Selena preserve the land and still reach for the stars?
Join Millie and Selena for a trip back in time to Luna Park, when for a few pennies, you could travel all the way to the MOON!
This story is bursting with action—in their efforts to evade Skip, Millie and Selena encounter elephants and giraffes, leap from buildings, walk across tightropes, and ride on an airship, all alongside nonstop drama that will sustain the attention of eager young readers. As the pair races to escape Skip and his sinister intentions, they also explore Luna Park, a vision of early twentieth century culture and ingenuity, eventually stumbling onto a ride called Trip to the Moon. This misty, pseudo-lunar voyage culminates in Skip seeing the error of his ways and a happy ending for all. Though the story is jam-packed with dramatic details, perceptive readers may ask what made Skip so angry in the first place; his climactic transformation would feel more rewarding with greater insight into his character.
Throughout this adventurous tale, Lindberg’s intricate, old-style illustrations fill up the pages with a wistful Coney Island past that would fit right at home on antique circus posters, and readers will leave the story feeling as if they’ve tasted a piece of American history. Younger fans will be inspired to seek adventures of their own, while parents and adult followers will likely feel their own tug of nostalgia—both for the over-the-top grandeur of Luna Park and the simple beauty of childhood friendship.
Takeaway: This picture book finds a little girl in an exciting chase through turn-of-the-century Coney Island.
Great for fans of: Ariel and Michael Tyson’s Jack and the Fantastical Circus, David Litchfield’s The Bear and the Piano.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: A-