Norton Juster, 1929-

Book - 2011

When a boy and his family move to a new house, he devises an ingenious way to meet people in the neighborhood.

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Picture books
New York : Schwartz & Wade Books 2011.
1st ed
Physical Description
1v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 23 cm. x 29 cm
Main Author
Norton Juster, 1929- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* 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. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this emotionally authentic tale of an unhappy new kid in town, Karas (Young Zeus) pictures the boy—unnamed at first—punting a box off his front stoop, then grumpily taking his mother's advice to "take a little walk down the block." The boy slouches to a street corner and begins to call out the name "Neville." As he shouts, other children gather to help and ask about Neville ("When did he move here?"). Oddly, they never ask the boy his own name, nor do they fret when Neville fails to appear. By sunset, the displaced child can half-smile at having made acquaintances. Karas's melancholy illustrations brighten and expand as the mood improves; small, quiet type sets the sullen tone, until colorful hand-lettered display type implies the children's collective chatter. Readers learn the boy's name only at bedtime (hint: it starts with N), a resolution that reinforces sympathy. Juster (The Odious Ogre) identifies a common, stressful situation, and Karas handles the drama with compassion, implying a lonely, single-parent household. Even if the narrative logic falls short, this poignant tale expresses a longing for connections. Ages 4–8. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 1–3—Finding new friends after a family move can be one of the most devastating traumas of childhood, but Juster and Karas use imagination and humor to address the situation. Told by his mother to take a walk down the block—"you might meet someone"—a child takes her suggestion to a new level. Heading down the sidewalk, he suddenly throws his head back and shouts "NEVILLE" at the top of his lungs. Soon one child, then another, and before long, a bevy of youngsters show up mimicking his cry. Even the neighborhood dogs join in. Questions fly as to who this Neville is and what he is like, and at the end of the day, as everyone goes home for supper, the crowd pleads with the boy to return tomorrow, which, of course, he is happy to do. Karas places likably scruffy-looking children across the spreads and, in sync with the call-outs for "Neville," stretches out hand-written versions of the name in various sizes and colors, cleverly capturing the evolving event with wit and energy. Although Juster doesn't reveal who Neville is until the last page, sharp readers will guess his identity early on. Nevertheless, this ingenious foray into breaking into a new neighborhood makes for an amusing and appealing story.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA [Page 123]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When a boy and his family move to a new house, he devises an ingenious way to meet people in the neighborhood.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When Neville and his family move into a new house, the young boy devises an ingenious way to meet people in the neighborhood.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Written by the acclaimed author of The Phantom Tollbooth, this Amazon Best Picture Book of the Year 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."“[T]his ingenious foray into breaking into a new neighborhood makes for an amusing and appealing story.” —School Library Journal