Frequent collaborators Philip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell (Special Delivery; The Only Fish in the Sea; Follow that Frog) return with another joy-generating, animal-centric picture book. Every Dog in the Neighborhood is an upbeat entertainment starring a grandmother-grandson duo who set out to do right by the canine population in their community.
The story begins with Grandma's kitchen-table command to grandson Louis: "Now grab your raincoat and come along. I need to check on something in the neighborhood." As they walk, Louis announces that he wants a dog. Grandma remarks that the neighborhood already has plenty of dogs; Louis wants to know how many. When his inquiring letter to the city fails to produce the number, Louis sets out with a clipboard to canvass his neighbors. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, Grandma is on a parallel if equally dog-minded mission, and she secretly gets cracking on that "something in the neighborhood."
Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee; Music for Mister Moon) has given narrator Louis an unfiltered sweetness ("Grandma knows everything. That's why I love her") that turns Every Dog in the Neighborhood into a true heartstrings tugger. Caldecott winner Cordell (Wolf in the Snow; What Isabella Wanted) uses loose lines and easy-breezy watercolors to capture a neighborhood that's both old-fashionedly tight-knit and conspicuously contemporary: with his swoopy hair and snazzy checked outfit, hipster-in-training Louis fits right in with his community's dog-loving artsy types. --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author