Brand New Boy
by David Almond, Maria Altes (Illustrator)
4.5 out of 5 stars
Daniel and Maxie are intrigued when a new boy comes to school. They can’t figure out if the new boy, George, is just a shy person or if maybe he has a developmental disorder. Max good-naturedly jokes that George might be an alien! They reach out to befriend him, but George’s behavior is a little odd. George is definitely weird, but after all… everyone in school is weird in their own unique ways. Daniel and Max, along with some other friends in their class, take George under their wing, inviting him to play football/soccer with them, and they are surprised by the interesting way George becomes their friend. Could George be something more than they ever realized?
I loved this book so much! All the characters have such beautifully complex and yet somehow simple personalities; simple because they are just so relatable, so they are easy to understand, and complex with all the crazy weirdness of all humanity.
I love love loved the teachers in the school! They are so dynamic and excited about their subject. The history teacher gets everyone to imagine that they are part of an explorer ship in Magellan’s time. The music teacher knows just how to develop the music talents of each student, and give them the confidence to join in. She’s really inspiring! As a music teacher myself, this resonated with me in a special way.
I loved that there was no question of bullying anywhere in the class. From the moment they met him, the whole class rallied around George to support and accept him. Even when he said strange things or did something weird, no one teased or insulted him. They just tried to understand and to act with kindness. It’s refreshing to have a story about a weird kid and the main plot does NOT revolve around defeating a bully as the villain.
The writing style is so thoughtful and pensive. Daniel and his friends really ponder over the big questions in life, and I loved the way that their philosophical contemplations merge into the plot and drive their actions.
The plot is a bit slow, but it feels right for this type of story. We take the time to analyze all the nuances of what Daniel and his friends value in this world, and then when the plot is pushed forward because of their values, it is so satisfying! I liked the slow plot, and it never felt like it dragged. It felt restful.
This is such a beautiful book! I loved the positive moral messages and the lovely characters and the interesting plot. There are also excellent illustrations throughout the book that brought a lot of emotion into the story!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.