Thursday, April 18, 2013

There Goes the Neighborhood! My Neighbor Is A Dog by Isabel Minhas Martius

The building I lived in was always very quiet.

Nothing ever happened there...

Until one day a huge moving truck pulled up right in front of our door...

As the boxes and furniture come out of the truck, all the building's residents, including one very excited girl, peer out of their windows, hoping for a glimpse of the new neighbor.

He was a dog!

All the tenants are agog, and the girl's parents are sure that the neighborhood is going to the dogs. Dogs shed and scratch and.... Well, her parents seem to suggest, they're just not our kind of people.

The new tenant turns out to be a good neighbor, polite and quiet, even when he plays his saxophone. He kindly fetches everyone's newspapers and delivers them to their doors. But the girl's mom and dad are not pleased.

And then another moving truck pulls up, and these new residents turn out to be a couple of elephants! The elephants are friendly, and one even helps all the tenants wash their cars in a jiffy. But still the girl's parents gripe that the elephants' sheets take up way too much space on the clothesline.

And then another new tenant shows up, one with a toothy smile. He's a crocodile, and even though he plays Santa and leaves presents outside everyone's door, the grownups think he's just too strange.

Soon the girl finds her parents packing up to move out. Away they go to a new place, and the girl is sad to leave her interesting neighbors behind.
I heard that there were now three bears living in our old apartment.
My old building was becoming more and more fun all the time.

One day when I grow up,
I will stop in front of our old door with a big moving truck... and I will move back in.

And I'm sure they won't find me strange!

Isabel Martius' just-published My Neighbor Is a Dog (Owlkids Books, 2013) will have young readers wishing that their neighbors were bears, elephants, and a sax-playing dog. But artist Madelena Matoso adds a comic visual twist to the story. Her page showing the girl and her parents--two giraffes--driving away with their mover explains why her parents have been looking down their noses at all the new tenants! Kirkus gives this offbeat story with quirky illustrations a thumbs up in its starred review: "Stylish and understated, this argument for tolerance is a welcome one."

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