Author & Illustrator: Einat Tsarfati
Gorgeous artwork, simple
accessible prose; let the
imagination go wild.
With minimal prose, Tsarfati’s book is a bright and bold adventure through a seven-story building and seven very different families. Or are they?
Quick Rating: Buy, Use, Donate, Gift?
A young girl takes us on a walk, up seven flights of stairs, stopping to imagine what family lives behind each unique door of every landing. All the doors are different. So, every family must be different. Right?
In a word: vivid. No color was spared. Tsarfati graduated with honors from the visual communication department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and illustration is clearly her strength. The details layered into each family bring out the individual family dynamic and the strength of our central character’s imagination. This is a picture book with writing prompts.
No Space on My Bookshelf
The book, aimed primarily at four-eight year olds is a feast for the eyes. We are taken through the lives of seven very different families in sumptuous double-page spreads. The families, of course, are only as vivid as the imagination of our main character. And she has quite the vivid imagination!
Tsarfati spares no detail. See if you can find the recurring character on each page. Each family is meticulously laid out, giving insight into each character. However, as there is no accompanying dialogue, there is no character development.
I do offer this caveat, unless your four-year-old is incredibly precocious, I would introduce this book at the latter part of year four or at ages five-six. The four-year-olds in my sample group were convinced that the families our character was describing actually lived behind the doors. Convincing them that our main character was imagining who was behind the doors was, challenging.
It is a lovely book. It’s just not a book that I would keep. While the design is beautiful and it does spark imagination, there is just not much there there. Is it pretty to look at? Yes. Is it a book that your child will want to read again and again? No. Have your local library buy it and check it out. Or, better yet, take your child to the museum and have her imagine the lives of the characters behind the pictures, drawings or paintings. [End.]
If you want to purchase a copy of The Neighbors, (who knows? YOU might want to give it as a gift to an art buff) and support my endeavors at the same time, you can click on the link below. No extra cost to you, and it will help me out! More books to read, more reviews to do!
Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.
The Neighbors (Support an Independent Bookstore)
The Neighbors (Amazon)*
If you’d like to preview the book, here’s read aloud:
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
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