cover image That Neighbor Kid

That Neighbor Kid

Daniel Miyares. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4979-3

A girl with long braids and a neatly pressed jumper peeps over a fence at a boy who’s hanging upside down from an oak tree branch, reading a book. She keeps watching as he removes boards from the fence and climbs the tree with lumber, hammer, and nails. Timidly, she climbs up after him; he’s struggling with a set of plans. “Hi,” she says. “Hi,” he replies. The plans make sense to her, they set to work, and the pale gray paintings take on color as the tree’s leaves turn orange and gold. The two flick their brushes at each other as they paint; at night, their bedroom windows shine golden yellow, a completed tree house standing proudly between them. Several messages surface in Miyares’s (Bring Me a Rock!) nearly wordless story: two heads are better than one, quiet people who hang back often have hidden gifts, and making things together can build lasting friendships. Miyares sets this sensitively crafted tale in a nostalgic past when children’s lives were less scheduled and supervised; like the tree house, it’s a good place to escape to. Up to age 5. Agency: Studio Goodwin Sturges. (May)