The New Neighbors
The New Neighbors by Sarah McIntyre is a must read! New neighbors are slated to move into the ground floor of a busy apartment building which is already bustling with animals of all shapes and sizes. It is Mr. Pigeon who delivers the first news about the new tenants...word on the street is that a family of RATS is moving in.
The bunnies on the top floor titter and bounce with excitement, overjoyed at the prospect of rat neighbors. They proceed to bound downstairs, alerting all of the current tenants that rats are moving in. One by one, a growing sense of foreboding overcomes the building. First, the sheep muse that rats are not very tidy. Next, the pigs complain that rats smell. Finally, the polar bears balk in shock announcing that rats like to steal food. Can it be true?
The New Neighbors is a kid-friendly narrative of what gossip is and how quickly rumors can spread. Presented in a light-hearted way, McIntyre uses humor, captivating illustrations, and entertaining word bubble commentary to highlight how easily implicit biases can overpower thinking and prejudice can begin.
The gaggle of animals, both curious and anxious, eventually climb to the ground floor together to meet the rats. However, it is they who discover that their new neighbors are in fact tidy, friendly, polished, and kind, defying all the negative gossip that preceded their arrival. The animals come to realize the falsity and fear they have unfairly conjured up through hearsay and stereotypes. It is here that the animals are served a heaping slice of humble pie (or rather, cake). Sarah McIntyre's story is engaging while offering a lesson about the implications of jumping to conclusions, such an appropriate book for our current times.