Review of Every Dog in the Neighborhood

Every Dog in the Neighborhood Every Dog in the Neighborhood
by Philip C. Stead; illus. by Matthew Cordell
Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.    g
6/22    978-0-8234-4427-4    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-8234-5298-9    $11.99

Louis tells his grandma that he wants a dog. When she replies that there are already enough dogs in the neighborhood, Louis goes door to door to get a record of how many. As a result, he doesn’t get just a tally of the dogs; he also gets to know his neighbors—Mr. Pierce, whose dog Harvey “will always live in my heart”; a blind woman with a guide dog; and many more (including a surprise appearance by Sadie from Stead and Cordell’s Special Delivery, rev. 3/15). Meanwhile, in a subplot told only in the pictures, civic-minded Grandma rolls up her sleeves and establishes a dog park in a previously neglected part of town, City Hall clearly having given her an unsatisfactory response to the letter we saw her typing. As she tells Louis, “Sometimes if you want something done you’ve just got to do it yourself.” Cordell brings to the page a vivid cast of characters as Louis canvasses the neighborhood. His shaggy, loose-lined illustrations in warm pastels are detailed and filled with humor. (The man who owns a dog named E. B. looks a lot like the Charlotte’s Web author.) Stead creates an indelible character in Grandma, who is fierce, determined, and kind, and he leaves plenty of room in his lively text for Cordell to add layer upon layer to this already nuanced tale—one that ends sweetly, in more ways than one.

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She also writes for Kirkus Reviews and BookPage and is a lecturer for the School of Information Sciences graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Her book Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and Peter D. Sieruta, was published in 2014.

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