Review of Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away
by Meg Medina; illus. by Sonia Sánchez
Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g
9/20    978-1-5362-0704-0    $17.99
Spanish ed.  978-1-5362-1334-8    $17.99

Daniela knows she’s going to have to say goodbye to Evelyn, her next-door neighbor and “número uno best friend.” But first, the two girls share a last day of play in this bittersweet story by Newbery winner Medina (Merci Suárez Changes Gears, rev. 9/18). Together Daniela and Evelyn, “almost twins” despite looking nothing alike, race up the steps, down the hall, and into Evelyn’s apartment, as familiar to Daniela as her own. An empty cardboard box becomes a bus to steer around the city until, in what seems like no time, everything else has been packed into the moving van parked downstairs. Even as the girls make plans to talk every day after school and visit over the summer, Daniela must face the truth that “tomorrow everything will be different.” After a photo (say “¡Patata!”), secret handshake, and hug, it’s time to say goodbye. Evelyn Del Rey is really moving away. Daniela’s first-person, present-tense narration balances action and introspection, while in the illustrations the small, expressive figures of the two girls seem barely able to contain the deeply felt emotions, familiar to many children, that accompany loss and change. Sánchez’s illustrations layer colorful patterns and textures with filigreed lines and corrugated cardboard collage; bright yellow beech leaves litter the girls’ urban neighborhood, suggesting a season of transition. The final image of an older Daniela, seated on the floor of her room surrounded by letters from Evelyn, assures readers that, no matter what, you never forget your first “mejor amiga.” Concurrently published in Spanish as Evelyn Del Rey se muda.

From the September/October 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Anamaría Anderson
Anamaría Anderson is a writer, translator, and museum educator at the National Gallery of Art.

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