The New Neighbours

A gloriously on-point book about judging people for imagined differences before you even meet them.

New neighbours have moved into the tower block. The bunnies are super excited, but what will the other residents think? As the residents descend the stairs, gathering old neighbours with them, they also descend into imagined horrors, fears, rumours, Chinese whispers and (cough) fake news. Not a phrase I thought I would be using in a picturebook review.

And the book is brilliantly done. It is very easy for a topic like this to cross the line to heavy-handed and preachy at the expense of story and entertainment. But Sarah McIntyre dances masterfully on the right side of the line with a fun, warm and engaging tale using playful language.

I was familiar with McIntyre’s black and white illustration work, but this is my first time seeing her full-colour spreads. They are glorious and full of life and character. I expect to continue to discover new details in her illustrations on subsequent reads. The big cast is fully realised and engaging. In particular, I must say how much I loved the use of colour across these spreads. Bright, bold and reflecting the mood of the characters as they get closer and closer to the new neighbours.

A fun book on the foolishness of stereotypes and prejudice for ages 0-7.