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The Brownstone Hardcover – January 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Six animal households try to get along in this wry reprint originally published in 1973. Noise, odors, and menacing neighbors send one household after another to knock on the live-in owl landlord's door. He orchestrates apartment swaps that only make matters worse until he settles on the perfect arrangement: like-minded neighbors find one another, prey escape predators, and the bear family can finally settle in for their winter nap. Repetitive text, plenty of sound effects, and increasing hullabaloo lend the story the feel of an old yarn. While it would make a wonderful read-aloud, only a handful of pictures are large enough to share with groups. Most illustrations show a cutaway view of the brownstone interior, allowing readers to peek into all six apartments at once. The pen-and-ink drawings by New Yorker cartoonist Mack add humorous details and a cheerful, almost Seussian absurdity. A silly tale about neighborliness and problem-solving that will work best for small groups or one-on-one sharing.—Sarah Stone, San Francisco Public Library
"A charming, timeless story becomes also a hugely entertaining brain teaser. Bursting with color, this handsome new edition really shows off Mack's witty drawings." - New York Times
"Like the tiles in a sliding puzzle, the animal inhabitants of a three-story townhouse in 'The Brownstone' have to move around many times, left to right, up and down and sometimes back again, before everyone slots into the right place to live. This 1973 picture book, now back in print, pairs a pleasantly confusing story by graphic designer Paula Scher with Stan Mack's color-daubed, wobbly-lined drawings. In scenes that will resonate with apartment dwellers, the trouble starts when the bear family tries to hibernate just as Miss Cat begins her voice exercises. Before long, everyone in the building (including the pig and mouse clans and a dancing kangaroo couple on the top floor) starts madly swapping apartments in an effort to find the arrangement that suits everyone best." -- Wall Street Journal
"A wonderful read-aloud.. Repetitive text, plenty of sound effects, and increasing hullabaloo lend the story the feel of an old yarn. The pen-and-ink drawings by Stan Mack add humorous details and a cheerful, almost Seussian absurdity." - School Library Journal
"Mr. Bear and his family have just settled down for their winter naps when they are rudely awoken by Miss Cat singing across the hall in their brownstone. This reprinted tale about neighborly behavior is also about the quirks of architecture--and the illustrations from 1973 match the charm of the story." -Metropolis
"Playful assurance that however vast our differences, there is always a mutually satisfying solution to be found." -- Brain Pickings
"Paula Scher's entertaining story, packed with sound effects from CRASH! to THUMP-THUMP-THUMPETY-THUMP! is wonderful to read aloud, and the splendid pen-and-ink illustrations by Stan Mack will delight a new generation in this 2016 edition of the 1973 classic.... A fabulous, funny ode to cacophonous but ultimately harmonious problem-solving." - Shelf Awareness Starred Review
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Top customer reviews
Faced with a plethora of problem neighbors, the Bear family realize moving away isn't an option. Instead the neighbors try compromising by changing places in the Brownstone. It takes a lot of tries to get it right.
Keeping track of humorous scenarios and constant reshuffling feels like putting together a puzzle. The cartoon like illustrations adds to the zaniness. Besides creating plenty of snickers, The Brownstone perfects the importance of compromise.
My original review appears on my blog, Boys To Books.
Disclosure: I receive a free copy of this book to facilitate my review.