The Neighbourhood Surprise

The Neighbourhood Surprise
Sarah van Dongen
Tiny Owl

Redbird Road, where both Koya and Mrs Fig live, appears to have a strong community feel, with Koya and her friends, Hassan and Alex often visiting their elderly neighbour, and friend, Mrs Fig. She enjoys telling them stories of days gone by, creating costumes for dressing up and sharing the yummy cookies she bakes.

Needless to say, when they hear that Mrs Fig is moving away, the children are very upset and decide to organise a ‘going away party’ to show how much they’ll miss her. Dad suggests involving the entire street and so they do.

Kaya decides that the cake she and her dad bake must make allowances for the fact that Hassan is vegan. Hassan and his mum’s offering is falafel and a spicy curry,

while taking into account Mrs Fig being vegetarian, Alex and her family make a vegetable pie.

The afternoon of the party is a sunny one so Mrs Fig’s surprise party is to be held outside. She can hardly believe her eyes when she opens her door to discover …

A wonderful time is had by all, made all the more so when Mrs Fig announces that her new home is very close by, near enough for regular visits and another party the following year …

Rich in pattern and detail, Sarah van Dongen’s illustrations for her wonderfully warm-hearted story are a joy to contemplate. She also includes a final spread explaining vegetarianism and veganism. I was concerned to read there that honey is on the ‘no’ list for vegans so I’ll have to reclassify myself.

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