The House Across the Street

The House Across the Street

2.5 2
by Jules Feiffer
     
 

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The boy in the house across the street leads a fantastic life! He can sleep as late as he wants and doesn't have to go to school if it's raining. He's got a swimming pool in his bedroom and a piranha for a pet. So the little boy who watches his every move from the smaller house across the way wants desperately to be his friend. But how is this possible? With…  See more details below

Overview

The boy in the house across the street leads a fantastic life! He can sleep as late as he wants and doesn't have to go to school if it's raining. He's got a swimming pool in his bedroom and a piranha for a pet. So the little boy who watches his every move from the smaller house across the way wants desperately to be his friend. But how is this possible? With imagination, everything is possible.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Feiffer (I'm Not Bobby!) continues his winning streak with this picture book about coveting thy neighbor's life. "Across the street from us there's a big, big house/ where it's better than here," sighs a brown-haired preadolescent, seen from behind as he gazes out his window. In a reverse view, from the opposite curb, the speaker sits in the window of his aluminum-sided home, watching the larger house's grinning occupant. The young voyeur names all the things, real and imaginary, that make his neighbor's life so appealing. Images show the envied boy keeping the undivided attention of his mother, sister and baby-sitter, or laughing uproariously with 10 other boys: "He's all of his friends' best friend." In the kind of cumulative extravagance that makes Feiffer's By the Side of the Road so startling, the speaker matter-of-factly lists his neighbor's four purebred dogs and envisions the young master splashing in a backyard pool full of dolphins. Yet Feiffer ensures there is more to the speaker's longing than maudlin self-pity. The disaffected child admires the material trappings, but also desires things that cannot be bought: "Everybody laughs in his house./ Nobody argues. Or if they do/ they stop when he says so." In the end, the boy's idealistic portrait of a blissful home cannot be reduced to a grass-is-always-greener homily. Feiffer leaves the family and class issues unresolved, and ends with a modest fantasy to which youngsters can relate: "Sometimes... I pretend he invites me in." Ages 2-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This tale swings in and out of the possible, with the cadences and preposterousness of a story invented on the spot. In the opening scenes, a boy gazing out of the window notes: "Across the street from us there's a big, big house/where it's better than here." In that house lives a slightly older boy whose parents cater to his every whim, such as calling 800 numbers to purchase anything he needs. The narrator admits he's exaggerating after mentioning his neighbor's pet lion; he then describes the shark in the boy's swimming pool-the one in his bedroom. In the end, the boy paces in front of the big house, which he knows is empty, and pretends to be invited in for a sleepover. Feiffer's casual, spare drawings, enhanced by watercolors, are full of the exuberance and energy of his subject. He employs multiple panels on a page to build hyperbole quickly and spreads out to two-page scenes in order to stretch the scale. Children will be willing participants in this larger-than-life fantasy, even as they recognize it for what it is.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After veering off-key in By the Side of the Road (not reviewed), Feiffer bounces back into perfect pitch with another fretful, all-too-familiar litany. Not only, whines the young narrator, doesn�t the boy across the street have to go to school when it rains, he can eat when and where he wants to, everyone listens when he talks, he wins every game he plays, he has a pool in his bedroom, his house is bigger, he�s got a piranha, a shark, a lion ("Okay, I�m exaggerating"). It just gets better and impossibly better. His life is every child�s dream--or fantasy. Freely drawn watercolors give each of the depressed-looking speaker�s claims visual form, even when after watching the family opposite depart on vacation, he goes over to ring the doorbell and pretend that he�s invited in for a sleepover. Despite the subtlety of the message and the even-more-subtle conclusion, children and former children are likely to wince at how exactly the author has once again captured a common childhood tune. (Picture book. 6-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786809103
Publisher:
Disney-Hyperion
Publication date:
10/30/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.12(w) x 11.32(h) x 0.32(d)
Age Range:
2 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Jules Feiffer is an acclaimed American editorial cartoonist, playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. Born in the Bronx in 1929, he cultivated his craft at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He ran a Pulitzer prize winning comic strip column in the Village Voice for nearly 42 years. He has also written 26 children's books, several of them award winning. In 2004, he was inducted into the comic book hall of fame.

Jules Feiffer is an acclaimed American editorial cartoonist, playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. Born in the Bronx in 1929, he cultivated his craft at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He ran a Pulitzer prize winning comic strip column in the Village Voice for nearly 42 years. He has also written 26 children's books, several of them award winning. In 2004, he was inducted into the comic book hall of fame.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
January 26, 1929
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
The Pratt Institute, 1951

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House Across the Street 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually read a childrens' book before I buy it -- wish I had with this one. You expect some sort of moral or climax or event or SOMETHING. Very disappointing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Childrens book writers...hmmm...easy money in that I bet