Neville by Norton Juster and illustrated by G. Brian Karas is the story of a very clever boy in a new neighborhood. When the story begins Neville is depressed because his family has moved. That means everything is new and he has lost everything he knew – his neighborhood, his school, his friends.
His mother tells him to walk down the street. He thinks that’s a silly idea. It’s unlikely he’ll meet anybody just walking down the street. Nevertheless, instead of searching for new friends he discovers a way to have them find him.
He calls his own name, Neville, again and again. Eventually one child, then another and soon the whole neighborhood shows up because they want to help this new kid find Neville. It works, they do find Neville and by the end of the day he has many new friends.
It is a bit surprising that none of the children question Neville about his mysterious friend, but accept at face value the idea that a friend has been lost. Then again, that’s one of the ways children see life – wide open and believable.
The illustrations add considerably to the changes in Neville. When the book begins it his new home appears to be in a desert. When he calls his name, it is in a dull blue and gray. When the other children start helping him the font and colors change and become bright and exciting. The neighborhood also changes with the grass turning green and color added to the surroundings.
Written by the acclaimed author of The Phantom Tollbooth, this is a story children will want to hear again and again, especially if they have moved into a new neighborhood.