Monday, October 17, 2011


Booklist starred (October 15, 2011 (Vol. 108, No. 4))

Preschool-Grade 3. A long road trip, depicted in a series of panels on the title page, sets the stage for this tender, funny story about moving, settling down, and starting over. A boy and his family move to a new town. He worries about all of the troubles of relocation, especially being lonely, and his mother sends him out into the neighborhood to find new friends. As he walks to the end of the block, he draws attention by calling out a mysterious name: “NEVILLE, NEVILLE.” In no time, the streets are full of kids who have joined in the shouting and are all willing to help look for the eponymous stranger. As they ask questions, the boy tells them all about his best friend, Neville, whom they can’t wait to meet. Evening descends, the children part company, and the boy returns to his new home, where Neville’s true identity is revealed. The story’s simple charm comes to life in Juster’s well-paced, spare language. Karas’ deft mixed-media sketches carry remarkable weight. The new neighborhood begins as a lonely row of identical white houses and ends as a colorful bustle of congenial activity. With just a few simple strokes, Karas imbues his cartoonlike figures with deep and subtle emotion. A harmonious blend of text and illustration, this is a warm, reassuring choice for all children who know the anxieties that come with big life changes.

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