2011, Schwartz & Wade Books
New York, NY
Unpaged, $20.99 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780375967658; OCLC: 649077295

Neville was written by Norton Juster, author of the classic children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth.

Melancholic over relocating and skeptical about making new friends, a young boy takes a walk through his drab, monochromatic neighborhood where he begins yelling the name, “Neville.” After just a couple of shouts, he is joined by a neighbor boy who begins yelling for Neville, too. Soon a gaggle of neighborhood kids, and dogs, are yelling and howling for someone named Neville. Curiosity overtakes the group and they enthusiastically begin asking the new boy all about Neville — the boy in which they were all calling. As the boy answered more and more questions, someone cried out, “I like Neville already!” When the kids began parting company to make their way home, the group consensus was to meet up again tomorrow to continue looking for Neville. Feeling much better about the move, the boy’s walk back home is illustrated in color. At bedtime readers learn the boy’s name when his mother tucks him into bed and whispers, “Good night, Neville, pleasant dreams.”

Illustrations for Neville were done by G. Brian Karas. Technique: mixed media. (He started with SketchUp!) Rather than droning on about his methods, I found a trailer for Neville:

The illustrations were supportive of the story and transmitted feeling/mood to the reader by way of the Karas’s use of color — e.g. the monochromatic neighborhood at the beginning of the story to depict the boy’s melancholy. 

Starred Review, School Library Journal, September 2011
Starred Review, Booklist, October 15, 2011
Parents’ Choice Award, 2012

My Thoughts
While the story was predictable (it’s a children’s book), I found it to be humorous and heart-warming — a great book to share in a classroom or a library story hour for early elementary school-aged children regardless if they have/haven’t experienced a move in their life. In addition to the story showing readers that new friends can be made wherever you might be, it sheds light — color in this case — on how it feels to be befriended as the new kid. 

I plan on purchasing a copy for my private collection.

children’s picture book, life transitions, moving, making friends, illustrators,