Picture Book Review: Hello, Neighbor!

Hello, Neighbor! by Matthew Cordell

Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers
by Matthew Cordell
5 out of 5 stars

This book tells the true story of how Fred Rogers first began to be interested in television production, and how he began broadcasting the show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The story is told in a simple way for children to understand, but it captures the heart of the show through Mr. Rogers personality. He exhibited such a strong kindness and compassion that it reached people personally even through the airwaves of television. I love that this book expresses the true heart of Mr. Rogers and demonstrates just how special and original his TV show really was.

One of the things that is mentioned in this book is that Fred Rogers was a minister, and his faith played a huge role in the type of person he was and how he formed his famous TV show for children. The sincerity and love in every episode are beautifully represented in this book.

The book actually mentions particular episodes that I remember watching as a child, like the crayon factory episode and the one with Jeff Erlanger, the boy in the wheelchair who sang “It’s You I Like” with Mr. Rogers. I could actually hear him singing the song in my head as I was reading!

I was so glad to see that there is a whole page about Johnny Costa and his delightful music. The jazz trio that provided the music for each episode were truly incredible musicians, and they did amazing things with original music and arrangements. A lot of the music was written by Mr. Rogers himself, since he was also an accomplished musician and composer.

The illustrations are beautiful and charming! The pen and watercolor art style feels calming and serene, like a warm hug. I like that the people, including Fred Rogers, are all drawn in a cartoon style, but still familiar and recognizable. Their faces are expressive and kind, bringing the reader directly into the story.

This whole book is a fantastic tribute to a wonderful man and a meaningful children’s TV show that will live in our cultural memory forever.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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