Setting and context are important aspects in Ms. Hallinan's stories, helping to shape the story as much as the characters. In the illustration on the left, the illustrator imagines the neighborhood in which Petrith lives. You can see he's going out the gate — against the stern instructions of his Mom — leaving his favorite ball and other toys behind. Notice the bluebird on the fence, the flowers and the other (very Scottish-looking) homes. On the right, toys in the classroom realize that Petrith is different, very very different.