cover image Nobody Here but Me

Nobody Here but Me

Judith Viorst, , illus. by Christine Davenier. . FSG, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-374-35540-1

“Even though there's four—count them!—four other people right here in this house,/ It's just as if there's nobody here but me.” So bemoans a boy who believes that he's being neglected by busy family members (Dad is answering e-mail, Mom is on the phone, and his older sister and a friend are “playing games for two, not three”). The boy's numerous ploys for attention include raising a false alarm (“Hurry, Mom, I think there's a snake in the shower”), acting out (turning the kitchen into a snack-strewn “catastrophe”) and taking to bed at 5 p.m. He's unable to bend others to his will, but finally gets his revenge by playing possum when the family finally checks in on him in bed. Davenier's (Has Anyone Seen My Emily Greene? ) luminous watercolors capture the boy's complex emotions with cool lavenders and blues amplifying gloomier moments. (The inclusion of several clocks plays up the agony of waiting and gently suggests a touch of overreaction—the story takes place over the course of an hour.) Viorst (Just in Case ), as always, respects her readers too much to preach to them; instead, she empathetically and accurately mirrors their feelings so they can savor the injustice while understanding that it, too, will pass. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)