cover image The Only Alex Addleston in All These Mountains

The Only Alex Addleston in All These Mountains

James Solheim, illus. by Jeffrey Ebbeler. Carolrhoda, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4677-0346-8

A boy and a girl who share the name Alex Addleston show up on the first day of kindergarten and quickly become inseparable. But when Alex (the boy) returns from visiting his grandmother for the summer, he discovers that Alex (the girl) and her family have moved to Kenya to do humanitarian work. Can the Alexes overcome time and geography and still remain “Harp slyamor, me zippal fwip” (“Best friends, no matter what,” in the secret code of their favorite superhero)? Although readers must first accept a modern-day world devoid of digital communication, many will know the pain of friends who move away and will get caught up in the bittersweet, dual-track story of how the Alexes grow while trying to keep their connection alive. Solheim (Born Yesterday) occasionally turns up the drama higher than necessary (“She learned to make a soccer ball dance like the memory of a boy her mind could never quite touch”), but the sheer force of his earnestness, together with Ebbeler’s (Tiger in My Soup) energetic and openhearted cartooning, will propel readers through to the Alexes’ equally improbable reunion. Ages 4–9. Illustrator’s agent: MB Artists. (Mar.)