Thank You, Neighbor!

Harper/HarperCollins/. Sept. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062909534.
K-Gr 2–In Chan’s latest, an Asian child’s neighborhood walk with their pup encourages readers to slow down and connect with others. The story begins indoors as the child clips an orange leash on the eager pooch and, on the title page, leaves a low-rise apartment. The true-to-life stroll that follows mixes typical dog behavior (and waste) with short, sweet interactions with neighbors and community helpers. Whether keeping everyone safe, tidying things up, or rescuing a cat from a tree, the neighbors “take care of each other” and are “a big family.” That’s why, as the child narrator advises, it’s important to always say, “Thank you, neighbor!” The walk eventually circles back home, where an adult greets the child with warm, steaming dumplings. The bright, colorful digital cartoon illustrations provide plenty of opportunities for engagement and discovery. Readers can peer through windows or look in backgrounds for small, often comedic, details. The urban setting’s denizens are diverse in age and skin tone; a few use canes or wheelchairs. Of the many professions represented, one librarian’s subtly tattooed arm is a delightfully stereotype-breaking touch. A visual reference to Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson’s Last Stop on Market Street positions this similarly community-minded story with a strong sense of place as a wonderful companion. An author’s note and photo (with real neighbors!) provides personal context about Chan’s own walks through Brooklyn with her dog.
VERDICT A welcome reminder for readers in all kinds of neighborhoods. Highly recommended.–

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