Need a Friend? Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Review Shows You How.

Let’s travel back in time…

I was a couple of months into first grade. My friends from kindergarten and I were a year older, ready to say goodbye to little kid activities like stacking blocks and hello to reading Sally, Dick, and Jane books. Except instead of joining my friends on their first-grade adventure, I had more than stacking blocks to say goodbye to.

My family was moving, and I’d never see any of my friends again.

My childhood was not the age of cell phones, texts, and Instagram posts.  Sure, I could have written snail mail letters, but let’s not forget that I was just learning to write my name and spell simple words, so writing newsy letters to keep in touch wasn’t an option.

Moving meant starting from scratch.

Of course, all of the kids in my new homeroom had playground buddies and knew who would trade pudding cups for Ding Dongs while I was clueless who would want to trade me ANYTHING for my salami and parsley sandwich -guaranteed to leave flecks of green between your teeth. Yes, I was the only kid who survived elementary school without ever having a normal, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I also didn’t get to wear jeans, but that’s another story…

Looking back, I wish today’s picture book, Neville, existed when I was six. The main character, in this adorable book by Norton Juster, figures out how to make friends in a most ingenious way. Yes, it would take courage, but boy does this kid’s method work!

In case you’re wondering where you heard the name, Norton Juster, he is the well-known and beloved author of The Phantom Toll Booth, The Hello, Goodbye Window, and many more remarkable books.

Title – Neville

Written by – Norton Juster

Illustrated by –G. Brian Karas

Published by – Schwartz and Wade Books -2011

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics/Theme –  Moving and making friends

Opening – The big gray van pulled away from the curb, moved slowly down the street, and disappeared around the corner. Now it was quiet, and there he was, where he really didn’t want to be.

Amazon Review HERE – 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

Learn more about Norton Juster in this video interview HERE.

Enjoy this Q & A with G. Brian Karas HERE.

Did your family move when you were growing up? If you have a memory you’d like to share, I hope you’ll include it in the comments.

Until next Friday!

11 thoughts on “Need a Friend? Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Review Shows You How.

  1. You shared just enough that I’m curious how Neville makes friends. Sounds like a great read. I enjoyed listening your link to several interviews with Norton Juster. Thank you for including them. Love the cover and will be checking this book out for a grandchild.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jilanne, I just typed up the book and came to a whopping 922 words! But then, this isn’t the author’s first picture book; he’s rather famous and has many amazing children’s books to his credit. I did, however, highlight every word and passage that could be deleted without taking away from the story, and that number was 280, bringing the word count down to 642. I’ve got to say, that was a fun and educational exercise in editing and tightening. Even though the book is word-heavy, Neville is an amazing book of friendship that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh! Fantastic exercise! I never thought to do that. Now, I’ll be taking a look at some of my longer favorites to see where they can be cut. Thanks for this awesome idea! (And I just re-read my comment. I think I need to make the printing on my laptop larger, so I can see my typing mistakes, LOL.)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve definitely piqued my interest. I’ve never heard of the book, but I am going to seek it out. Thanks for sharing. Must say, I never moved when I was growing up, and am still friends with kids I went to school with – some, from nursery school through college! Looking forward to reading NEVILLE.

    Liked by 1 person

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