The New Neighbours is the latest picture book from Sarah McIntyre.
When something new is about to happen – excitement builds, then speculations begins and rumours grow bigger and bigger, if left unchecked. That’s exactly what happens when the rats move into the the first floor of a lovely tall block of flats, in the middle of the city.
Symbolically the conversation starts at the very top and literally filters down. It all begins with the bunnies, and their sister Lettuce. Lettuce is very excited about the new neighbours, and promptly hops down the stairs to visit Vern (Vern and Lettuce was the first picture book Sarah both wrote and illustrated).
Vern is not so sure about the rats – “Hmm… RATS! I’ve never lived with RATS before… ”
So they ‘hopped and trotted’ down the stairs… gathering more animals, more opinions and more lovely onomatopoeia to add to that list as they descend each flight of stairs. By the time they reach the rats rumours have reached fever pitch levels as each animal imagines all sorts of terrible things.
“they are going to make the whole building collapse and bury us alive in RAT POO!”
And then they knock on the door… to find a quite delightful surprise.
McIntyre’s illustrations are full of charming, and amusing details to spot as you follow the narrative and those delightful bunnies, who get increasingly bewildered by the building chaos.
The New Neighbours is the perfect springboard for discussions about rumours and prejudice.