cover image Hello, Neighbor! The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers

Hello, Neighbor! The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers

Matthew Cordell. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4618-6

When readers first see Fred Rogers in this authorized picture book biography, he’s an instantly recognizable figure playing his beloved piano; musical notes, hearts, and more pour forth from the instrument. Caldecott Medalist Cordell begins his story on the TV set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, then circles back to Rogers’s youth in Pittsburgh, detailing his loving family and appreciation of music, his sometimes painful childhood (“Fred was shy and often lonely”), and his unexpected discovery of television’s possibilities for speaking to children: “He would simply be his honest self.” Galleries of portraits include the show’s inclusive cast of characters and some eminent guests. Drawings framed like television stills recreate the show’s famous opening and closing sequences and capture moments happy, “like visiting the circus,” and sad, “like saying goodbye to a beloved pet.” Cordell acknowledges the vast audience in front of the television screen—and Rogers’s own interest in how things work— with drawings of children watching in their homes and camera operators maneuvering around the sets. Scribbly lines, soft colors, and earnest storytelling create an open, affectionate atmosphere perfectly in keeping with Rogers’s quiet strength and generous heart. Back matter includes photographs and more information. Ages 4–8. [em]Agents: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio and Matthew Shiels, Fred Rogers Productions. (May) [/em]