This is the story of two siblings and their new friend, an amiable cute girl. Or? Actually, this is the story of two siblings and… a real trouble. Trouble Next Door is a brilliant story for kids aged 5 to 7 (I would say 7+, too) that will help them learn a bit more about friendship and how complicated it could be.
Bella’s family have just moved house and already Bella has a new best friend – Magda, who lives next door. Magda thinks climbing the chimney would be fun! Bella isn’t sure that’s a good idea. She might get into trouble. But Magda would never let Bella take the blame… would she?
I must admit my son, almost 5, wasn’t that gripped probably because he still prefers colourful books with lots of illustrations. But his mum was truly amused. I read half of the book with him and the other half by myself. Honestly, I can’t remember to have done it before. OK, Trouble Next Door is not meant to be for mummies but beyond doubt, it is suitable for young readers who can read independently.
The illustrations are black and white but quite charming and appropriate for older kids. In my opinion, however, it is the narrative that makes the book such a lovely read. The story is funny, witty and full of comical situations.
Magda is a walking disaster who consciously or not mess everything up whenever she comes over to her new neighbours’ house. Almost every page reveals a hilarious (well, sometimes tragicomic) situation – an innocent play, a new adventure or simply a chat between the kids – that usually ends up as a tremendous catastrophe. Soot from the chimney all over the room, Mum’s special occasions porcelain being broken, favourite objects being spoiled for good, books damaged and much more…
The energetic Polish girl either doesn’t understand what is wrong with her behaviour or doesn’t care. Every time, she creates a big trouble in Bella and Sid’s home. Then she gets away and leaves them to face the consequences. And the consequences? An angry mummy and plenty of mess to tidy up. But the worst of all – Bella’s confusion. She finds Magda funny and really wants to be her friend, especially in a new place where everything is so unfamiliar and scary (there is even a ghost she can hear!). On the other hand, she wonders why a friend would behave so oddly and dishonestly at times. Why does Magda never confess it was her fault? Why does she never apologise? How to be a friend with someone so mischievous?
Bella will soon learn a lesson – relationships between people are not always easy and friendships could be challenging. Important messages behind the giggles, a deep exploration of children’s emotional world – all that wrapped up in a story full of smiles. Trouble Next Door will teach your child some serious matter about life. It will show them that very often unpleasant things happen, but that’s OK. And parents will forgive your mischiefs much quicker than you think, if only you tell them the truth about how you feel.
Trouble Next Door is a book I’d love my son to read himself when he gets old enough. It is a piece of entertainment young readers should absolutely have at home. Because no doubt, they will love it. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a funny story?
Happy reading! 🙂
*Disclosure: A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest book review. I would like to thank Bloomsbury Publishing and Boolino. All thoughts are my own.*