The mystery of new neighbors on the other side of a high fence leads Nancy and her dog, Douglas, to a bilingual surprise in a confident follow-up to Douglas, You Need Glasses! (2016).
One day when Nancy and Douglas hit a ball through a small hole in their fence, it’s rolled back. After sending over a toy train with a message of greeting, they receive messages in Spanish including, “¡Hola!” and “Queremos conocerte” (“Hello” and “We’d like to meet you,” respectively; an opening glossary is provided for those who don’t read Spanish). This makes the duo so curious that Nancy hatches a series of elaborate, graph-paper–diagrammed schemes to somehow scale the fence. When, thanks to Douglas, the two finally meet their Spanish-speaking neighbors, another kid and dog who were also busy trying to meet them. It ends with plans for an escalator and water slide, because of course it does. Adamson’s wit extends not only to some bits of subtle visual humor (some birds build a nest on Douglas’ head while they wait), but to the paper plans themselves, which are as needlessly elaborate as they are funny. If there’s a missed opportunity it’s that readers don’t get to know the Spanish-writing pair at all, even their names. Nancy and the neighbor kid both have pale skin.
If Adamson can make so much entertaining hay out of a simple day in the backyard, it’s likely we’ll be seeing more Douglas stories. (Picture book. 3-7)