“Bad truck, bad guy; bad wave, bad bye . . .” A boy and his family are packing up their old home, and the morning feels scary and sad. But when he arrives at his new home, an evening of good byes awaits: bye to new friends, bye to glowing fireflies, bye to climbing trees. The New York Times bestselling author Deborah Underwood's spare text and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner Jonathan Bean's lush, layered illustrations perfectly capture the complex emotions of moving day. The child-centric transition from dreary morning to cheerful evening comforts young readers facing big changes of their own.
It seems like there's no good to be found in moving away and leaving friends behind: "Bad truck/ Bad guy/ Bad wave/ Bad bye." But as a family makes their way across the country, a sense of adventure kicks in, "bad" is gradually supplanted by the possibilities of a "New town/ New park/ New street/ New bark," which in turn hold the promise of life being "good" again. Underwood's (The Quiet Book) ultra-succinct verse hits all the emotional marks that go along with a big transition. Bean (Building Our House), meanwhile, seems to take the topic to heart by moving in a new direction himself. He does wonderful things with light, starting with a gloomy rain scene and ending with soft, welcoming twilight. His colors especially his reds are gorgeously saturated, and often have a cellophane-like translucency. And his line is more geometric than before and lends the characters a look reminiscent of 1960s animation (maybe that's why Dad uses a paper map instead of GPS to navigate). Ages 4 8. Author's agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Anna Webman, Curtis Brown.