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Neville
Schwartz and Wade Books/Random House Kids
age 5-8, 8-12
Written by Norton Juster, Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
32 pages

Synopsis from Random House Books:

Written by the acclaimed author of The Phantom Tollbooth, this is a simply told story about a boy who moves to a new neighborhood and finds a unique way to make friends. With whimsical illustrations by award-winning illustrator G. Brian Karas, here is a read-aloud that’s great for storytime, and is sure to be a hit among fans of Juster, Karas, and anyone who is “the new kid on the block.”

Being the new kids can be tough. Being in a new house and not having friends in your new neighbourhood. That’s what the young boy in Neville is feeling. On his mom’s suggestion, the boy takes a walk down his street to see if he can find any other kids in his new neighbourhood. He’s doubtful. In frustration the boy yells out ‘Neville’ while standing on an empty street corner. This simple act attracts one boy, than another child and soon a whole neighbourhood of kids, calling out for Neville. Now this young boy, without really trying, finds himself in the middle of a conversations and budding friendship. The boy determines that moving into his new neighbourhood, his new house may not be so bad.

We discover who Neville actually is only at the end of the story, though some may have their suspicions as they read the story (it was a surprise to me actually). I love this reveal; it’s like we’ve been let in on a little secret. He determines that moving into his new neighbourhood, his new house may not be so bad. I loved how the illustrations changed as the boy felt like he belonged in his new surroundings. At first only the boy and his things are in colour and the rest appears in gray sketches. As he starts to feel like he fits, the colours fill everywhere, including the kids and neighbouring houses. That gray feeling of being alone without finding a friend is replaced with hope.

You can find a copy of Neville by visiting your local book store or visiting Random House Kids Books. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations. What are you reading with your kids?

I have to thank Cassandra and Jessica at Random House Books for my review copy.

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