Neville by Norton Juster
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
He has just moved into a new neighborhood. He wasn't happy to be there. "Nobody had asked him about moving." And they told him he would love it. "That's what they always said when they knew he wouldn't love something." So now he would have to face going to a new school and having no friends. And "that was the worst part, no friends." His mother told him to take a walk around the block. "Like you can make new friends just by walking down the block." But he did anyway. And the he stopped, took a deep breath, and shouted at the top of his lungs: NEVILLE. Over and over. Until other children joined him and started calling out "Neville" along with him. Soon, they were all talking and wondering where this boy Neville might be, looking for him and imagining what he must be like. Who's Neville? As he walks back to his new home, the boy has to admit the day turned out to be a lot better than he had first thought...
I love Neville. I've been a lifelong fan of Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth is one of my all time favorites), and Neville did not disappoint me in the least. He captures the feelings of a new kid on the block perfectly: the fears and the frustrations of not being totally in control of certain life changing decisions. The ingenuity of Neville to find new friends will delight readers of all ages. The illustrations by Karas are a perfect companion. Great read aloud! One of my favorites this year (I could read the first two pages over and over again...wait, I did).