Review: Hello, Neighbor!

Hello, Neighbor! The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers
Author & Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Neal Porter Books, Holiday House, New York

The illustrations are warm and bring forth Mister Rogers’ trademark understated humor and depth.

Caldecott Medalist Codell writes a detailed biography of Mister Rogers, with warm, caring illustrations.

Quick Rating: Buy & Keep


A biography, be it a brief one, of Mister Rogers–one of our Nation’s treasures.


The illustrations are warm and bring forth Mister Rogers’ trademark understated humor and depth. Care is given to render the characters (real and imaginary) accurately, yet in the haze of memory; surrounding them with the charm of a warm blanket. We always remember those we love as their best selves. Cordell has captured them beautifully.

It’s On My Bookshelf

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this book. The target age range is four to eight-year-olds and I am certain I do not agree with that recommendation. I would not introduce this book before the First Grade.

A traditional biography, be it in picture book format, Hello, Neighbor! tells us the partial story of a great man; one parents and grandparent may be familiar with (although fewer children will be). It does so, however, in an expository format (“and then this happened”), rather than in a traditional story format (“once upon a time”); thereby not necessarily making itself accessible to younger children. Moreover, although Cordell has handsomely captured the feel of the Mister Rogers brand (yes, brand) he has not captured the Rogers spirit. At times the pages suffer from “too much going on,” perhaps an attempt to compress a life well-lived into 40 pages. If Rogers specialized in anything, it was in simple messages, not in cluttered thoughts. Mr. Rogers was a wonderful storyteller. This is a static biography.

Nevertheless, for First Graders and above, this book is recommended because it presents, in an easy-to-read, accessible format, the biography of a great man. It should hold their interest and will make for interesting book reports. That, is why it stays on my bookshelf. It is a good book; it’s just not a great book. Of course, next to the subject itself, everything pales. [End.]

If you want to purchase a copy of Hello, Neighbor! and support my endeavors at the same time, you can click on one of the links below. No extra cost to you, and it will help me out! More books to read, more reviews to do!

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Hello, Neighbor!(Support an Independent Bookstore)
Hello, Neighbor! (Hardcover at Amazon)*

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