my neighbor is a dog

My Neighbor Is a Dog by Isabel Minhos Martins, illustrated by Madalena Matoso

Originally published in Portugal, this book is a charming import.  It is the story of a young girl who gets a new neighbor who just happens to be a dog.  The dog is very friendly and kind, but the girl’s parents are not impressed, thinking that he would quickly start acting like the dog he was.  Soon after that, more new neighbors arrived, this time a pair of elephants.  The girl’s parents complained about them too, but the girl thought they were very nice.  Finally, a crocodile moved in.  That proved to be too much for her parents and they moved away.  But before they did, the little girl finds out that her parents are considered the odd ones in the neighborhood.  The final clever twist at the end shows exactly why.

Martins writing is just as vibrant as the bold illustrations.  She tells the story with wonderful little touches like the elephants helping with washing cars and the crocodile giving purses and shoes as Christmas gifts.  All of these details add to the world that she cleverly building and that wonderful surprise twist at the end.  Done in vibrant colors, the illustrations are created in hot pinks, deep blues and bright reds.  It is a modern world, with the pop colors adding to that feel. 

A look at acceptance and diversity through the eyes of a child, this book will speak to all children about preconceptions and tolerance.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.