Five neighbors learn to live together in their apartment building despite their differences.
Mouse Henry, bird Violet, squirrel Emma, cat Wilbur and rabbit Fernando are friends, but they are not alike. Some like to socialize, others like quiet, and at least one likes to give parties. Five chapters recount the five “problems” the neighbors must overcome to live together peacefully. Upstairs neighbor Emma’s rearrangement of her cache of acorns makes too much noise for quiet mouse Henry; Emma wants to throw herself the perfect birthday party; shy Fernando worries about his place in the neighborhood parade and yearns to dance; competent Violet wants to handle a leaky roof by herself; Wilbur doesn’t know how to save his garden plot from development. Each problem is solved by the humble kindness of the neighbors. New chapter-book readers will be attracted by the sweet cover showing the five different animals enjoying their respective hobbies. However, the chapters will challenge the intended audience, as they are long and slow-moving.
Here’s hoping that in the next Sprout Street tales there are fewer words and more action, which will help young readers connect with these characters. (Fiction. 6-9)