“Ink illustrations highlight the power of imagination in a new environment.”
A little girl clad in red stands out against detailed greyscale scenes as she approaches and then enters her new home: 3 Pond Lane, Building 2, Apartment 12. In her room by herself, her thoughts turn to her neighbors, and she imagines who they might be and what they might be like. At first she imagines them fairly realistically and normal—practicing a musical instrument, sitting at a dining table, watching television. Then, the musings cleverly transform from the mundane to the imaginative—a woman showering becomes a mermaid, while a family standing on shoulders to reach a high shelf becomes circus performers—until the girl envisions her neighbors disappearing altogether into an expanse of empty universe as she wonders if she is all alone. In the morning, the little girl sets off to discover the truth of who lives next door and meets a little girl in a yellow dress, and they head off to school together. With sparse text, the ink illustrations are the star of the show, featuring beautiful architectural elements in the building—note, for example, the intricate stair rail—and miniature scenes in the different apartments (though the inclusion of a woman showering and a man sitting on a toilet reading the newspaper, while tiny, will be distasteful to some readers), which are all highly detailed, if not precise. Denisevich uses touches of color to great effect, particularly as the story comes to a close, skillfully using the endpapers to bring the story full circle.
Really fun ink illustrations, except even though they’re small, a few include content I found objectionable for a kids book, including depicting someone showering.