New York is one of those places that seems to be unquestioningly on everyone’s list of places to visit, and after reading this hilariously unconventional and original take on the Big Apple through the eyes of a pet dachshund who tags along on his owner’s trip, the city might have moved up my list a few notches.
Thanks to the democratisation of air travel, a global economy and parents’ changing mindsets about travelling with children in tow, we’re now witnessing the advent of a new generation of very lucky — and, dare I say, privileged — tots who think nothing of hopping on a plane and arriving hours later in a foreign land halfway across the world. Thus, Lately Lily is one of the few children’s books that have managed to capture the zeitgeist of today’s mini globetrotters.
The first thing that will probably strike you when you pick up Line 135 is its odd size: measuring 19.5cm by 33cm, it’s shorter, and yet, also much wider than most of the other picture books. But don’t let this put you off since there’s a very good reason for the somewhat unwieldy size.
The premise of the book is simple: a girl takes a long train ride from her house in the city to where her grandma lives, out in the countryside. Along the way, she sits by the window to admire the view outside and — as people are wont to do in trains before smartphones and iPads came along — daydream: specifically, about travelling and ‘knowing’ the entire world when she grows up.