My Neighbor Is a Dog

Overview


Living in an apartment building can sometimes mean sharing walls with a host of characters — but what about with crocodiles, elephants, and bears? Much to her delight, this is the motley crew that one little girl finds herself living amongst.

Her parents, however, find all their new neighbors to be a little strange. While the little girl is enjoying the saxophone music her friendly dog neighbor plays, her parents bemoan the hair he leaves all over the stairs. When the little ...

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Overview


Living in an apartment building can sometimes mean sharing walls with a host of characters — but what about with crocodiles, elephants, and bears? Much to her delight, this is the motley crew that one little girl finds herself living amongst.

Her parents, however, find all their new neighbors to be a little strange. While the little girl is enjoying the saxophone music her friendly dog neighbor plays, her parents bemoan the hair he leaves all over the stairs. When the little girl is grateful for the car wash her helpful elephant neighbors provide, her parents complain of the size of their sheets on the clothesline.

It turns out the girl's parents have a good reason to look down on everyone — they're giraffes! Fed up with their unconventional neighbors, these stuck-up parents decide to move away. But the girl vows to return to live in the building again once she grows up, which is a decision her neighbors don't find strange at all!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Portuguese team behind When I Was Born returns with a story about an apartment building gone to the dogs (and elephants). Residents are shocked when a blue dog moves into a vacant apartment. “My parents thought it was very strange to have a dog as a neighbor,” says the young narrator. “They said he would leave his hair all over the place.... And that he’d scratch himself in a not-very-polite way.” (Meanwhile, the dog’s habits actually involve reading the newspaper and playing saxophone.) Additional animals move in, but while the girl befriends them, her parents are having none of it. The story’s most interesting twist—her parents are actually giraffes—gets swallowed by an ending that’s realistic but disappointing: the family simply moves away, with the girl vowing to return as an adult. Matoso’s blocky images and in-your-face red-and-blue palette give the book an ultrahip aesthetic, complete with quirky neighbors, burly tattooed movers, and badminton-playing elephants. Readers will share the girl’s belief that her building is an awesome place to live, even if they’re left cold by the book’s conclusion. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

IRA Notable Book for a Global Society (2014)

"Stylish and understated, this argument for tolerance is a welcome one-just like that saxophone-playing dog."
Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

"Lively and bold artwork complements a story line that celebrates the chaos of urban living and the inherent tolerance of children."
— ForeWord Reviews

"Matoso's blocky images and in-your-face red-and-blue palette give the book an ultrahip aesthetic, complete with quirky neighbors, tattooed movers, and badminton-playing elephants."
— Publishers Weekly

Praise for Little Lamb, Have You Any Wool?:
"A charming study in cooperation."
Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our young narrator and the neighbors in her apartment building watch a strange new neighbor move in: a dog. The youngster's parents are concerned, but she likes the friendly, saxophone-playing pup. When another moving truck arrives, the parents complain, but the girl finds the elephant couple quite nice and helpful. The same is true when the newest neighbor turns out to be a crocodile. However, the new neighbors all find her parents very unfriendly. They are so unhappy with the new neighbors that they move away, as our narrator cries and vows to return some day and move back in. The humorous surreal story grows stranger; the complaining parents are finally pictured as they drive away and turn out to be giraffes. Flat painted shapes limited in color to blue, red, and pink tell the odd visual story. End pages display a variety of small buildings in geometric designs. The title page shows stacks of suitcases anticipating the scenes of moving van and neighbors watching from their windows. On the last page, the girl, now grown up, moves back to the apartment and its odd assortment of tenants. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—When an anthropomorphic blue dog moves into an apartment building, a young girl appreciates his saxophone playing and newspaper delivery, but her parents find him strange. Their unfounded misgivings include "hair all over the stairs… bones in bizarre places…," and that he'll "scratch himself in a not-very-polite way." In fact, each of the new tenants, from a friendly elephant couple to a stylish crocodile, delights the child and annoys adults. When the human family relocates, the girl vows to return one day and be a better neighbor to the menagerie. Retro cartoons in pink, blue, red, black, and white capture dense urban living via lines and shapes. This celebration of diversity is a unique take on acceptance that may be a discussion starter.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Kirkus Reviews
When animals begin to move into the narrator's apartment building, she welcomes their differences, but her parents are uncomfortable. This simple story of discrimination and acceptance is recalled in a straightforward fashion. The little girl enjoys the saxophone-playing dog, the elephants who washed everyone's cars and the gift-bearing crocodile, even though his yellow eyes shine in the dark. Her building "was becoming more and more fun to live in all the time," she remembers. Her friendly new neighbors find her parents' standoffishness strange. And so will readers when they notice that the sad human child rides off in a car with two giraffes when they move away. The stylized images--shapes in red, blue and pink on a white background--have no shading and few details. Yet both human and animal neighbors are distinguishable, allowing readers to track them through the events of this subtle parable. The parents' fears are evident in their barricaded door and many keys. The more tolerant narrator looks forward to returning when she's grown. First published in Portugal, this has been smoothly translated and will resonate with readers here as well. For the North American audience, the editors have removed all references to smoking in text and pictures; the dog now blows bubbles from his pipe. Stylish and understated, this argument for tolerance is a welcome one--just like that saxophone-playing dog. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781926973685
  • Publisher: Owlkids Books
  • Publication date: 4/9/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 841,815
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Isabel Minhós Martins is the author of When I Was Born and Little Lamb, Have You Any Wool? She is also the co-founder of Planeta Tangerina, a Portuguese publisher of innovative children's books. She lives in Lisbon, Portugal.

Madalena Matoso studied communication design at Lisbon College of Fine Arts and completed a postgraduate degree in graphic editorial design at the Faculty of Fine Arts Barcelona. She is a prolific illustrator of children's books and lives in Lisbon, Portugal.

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