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The Neighbourhood Surprise focuses on community and different diets!


Buy The Neighbourhood Surprise


We’re delighted with this review of The Neighbourhood Surprise from Library Lady! Have a read below:

Picture books can make a difference. Not only for our youngest readers but for all age groups and all types. They can offer humour, entertainment and pleasure but also comfort, encouragement, information and inspiration. Over recent weeks I have read many fabulous picture books including re-issues, debuts, some from well-known authors, illustrators and publishers others from smaller independents. It is difficult to review them all but I wanted to highlight three new titles that I believe are both significant and rather special for different reasons. They are reviewed below in publication date order.

The Neighbourhood Surprise by Sarah van Dongen

There are lots of discussion points to encourage younger readers to ask questions

This delightful and happy debut is a joyful celebration of community and friendship that also introduces young children to traditional foods from different cultures and different diets such as vegetarian and vegan.

Mrs Fig is popular with her neighbours and when they discover that she is moving to a retirement home they decide to host a special party to say goodbye to their dear friend. Everyone gets to work and families spend time creating delicious food for everyone to share and enjoy. The story culminates in a wonderful multi-racial and multi-generational celebration when everyone gathers together in a glorious street party.

Tiny Owl publishers have a lovely theme for many of their books, they are full of hope and kindness, and this charming book is no exception. From the opening double page spread the reader is invited to explore and to notice. We are able to follow individual characters throughout the story and watch how they come together to play, to cook, to talk and to share. What is striking is the connections between individuals, families and generations and the overriding feeling is one of acceptance and even of love. The illustrations are cheerful and detailed with so much to explore that this book deserves a lingering read rather than a rush through.

The final pages are devoted to an explanation by Sarah van Dongen of the different diets and the varying reasons for people choosing to be vegetarian or vegan. The endpapers depict a tempting selection of foods for young readers to identify which is a lovely touch. A happy celebration of what unites us rather than divides us, this is a picture book to delight in.

  • Watch the trailer for The Neighbourhood Surprise
  • Download: FREE Neighbourhood Surprise activities!
  • Watch an interview with Sarah van Dongen in her inspirational studio!

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Posted in News & Reviews, Reviews