Seven Stories of Adventure Before Breakfast

h1 January 9th, 2019 by jules

“I live in a building that is seven stories high.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


Here’s a peek inside a picture book originally published two years ago but now on shelves here in the U.S. Einat Tsarfati’s The Neighbors has been translated from the original Hebrew by Annette Appel.

The story is narrated by a young girl, with fiery red hair and a green frog umbrella. She lives in a building with seven stories, and each of these residences has a “slightly different door.” As she enters the building while describing this to us, we get a glimpse of the mailboxes on the outside of the building. There are seven mailboxes that are, themselves, more than slightly different; in fact, we come to learn later, they very much resemble the personality of the interior of each residence in the building.

The girls gives us a tour. We see each door, and then we get a peek inside. The first door, for instance, has many locks. Turn the page and read: “That apartment belongs to a family of thieves. They just love ancient Egyptian artifacts.” We see an apartment crammed with priceless artifacts — and a family of burglars, reveling in their treasures. The second door, and the hallway it sits in, has muddy feline prints all around it. Turn the page and see that inside lives an explorer and his pet — a tiger.

And so it goes. There is a family of acrobats; a pirate who lives with “his love”; a vampire; and more, all living in this truly remarkable seven-story dwelling. The girl herself lives on the top floor. Her parents, whom she loves, are so boring, she tells us, but Tsarfati has a surprise for readers on the final spread. There’s more to her parents than she realizes, but she will soon learn the exciting truth.


“The second door is always surrounded by muddy footprints.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


It’s up to readers to decide whether or not these fantastical residents live only in the girls’ imagination, but I say it’s more fun if we all decide they’re real. Tsarfati’s richly colored spreads are filled with details to pore over. Expect lingering and discoveries, as children take in the eccentric lives of the girl’s offbeat neighbors.

Happy reading in the new year. Here’s a peek inside one apartment:


“That is the home of an old explorer and his pet tiger.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


* * * * * * *

Text and illustrations from THE NEIGHBORS copyright © 2019 by Einat Tsarfati. Used with permission from Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact Thanks.