My Neighbor Is a Dog - Thao Lam
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My Neighbor Is a Dog

My Neighbor Is a Dog

My Neighbor Is a Dog

I have been so busy the last couple of months working on my book that I didn’t even realize spring was here, until it was literally at my doorstep. The 2013 Spring Catalogue for Owlkids Books, along with a selection of books from the catalogue, arrived just last week. Keep reading…

This spring, Owlkids Books brings us My Neighbor Is a Dog. It is originally published by Portuguese publisher Planeta Tangerina. I love the fact that they are obtaining the rights to books from other countries and introducing them to Canadian readers. My Neighbor Is a Dog is written by Isabel Minhos Martins and illustrated by Madalena Matoso, both co-founders of Planeta Tangerina. This is a story about tolerance and the diversity of urban living seen through the eyes of a little girl.

Living in an apartment building means living with a host of quirky characters. The little girl is super excited about her new neighbors — a saxophone playing dog, friendly elephants, and a generous crocodile. Not everyone is excited about the new neighbors though. The little girl’s parents think that the new neighbors are strange and refuse to become friends with them. Even though her parents are giraffes, you would think they would understand what it is like to be different. But, in the end they decide to move out and take the little girl with them. It was a disappointing ending that didn’t seem to deal with the issue but instead ran away from it. I was hoping that the parents would learn from the little girl to be tolerant and to love their neighbor.

The illustrations are striking and makes up for the poor ending. Bold shapes are paired with an in-your-face colour palette, hot pinks, reds and blues. The eye-popping blues against white reminds me of the sea and houses that dot the coast of Greece.

Take a look at other books published by Planeta Tangerina. Their children’s books are definitely different from what we are use to in North America. The illustrations are more stylized and abstract. I am envious of the talents Planeta Tangerina gets to work with. The illustrations created by these talented illustrators are mind blowing.

My Neighbor Is a Dog, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

Author Isabel Minhos Martins

Graduated with a degree in communication design at Lisbon College of Fine Arts; Isabel Minhos Martins lives in Lisbon Portugal. She is the cofounder of Planeta Tangerina, a Portuguese publisher of innovative children’s books.


Illustrator Madalena Matoso

Madalena Matoso is also a cofounder of Planeta Tangerina and studied communication design at Lisbon College of Fine Arts. In addition, she did a postgraduate degree in graphic editorial design at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Barcelona.


Publisher Owlkids Books (April 9, 2013)

ISBN-10 1926973682

ISBN-13 978-1926973685