A dazzlingly beautiful book about shyness from the author of Blue Chicken, The Story of Fish and Snail, and By Mouse and Frog!
Shy loves birds. He'd love to watch them fly and hear them sing, but he's only ever read about them in books. . .until a real bird comes along. He's dying to meet her, but there's just one problem: Shy is, well, shy--so shy, in fact, that he's afraid to leave the gutter of the book. Can Shy overcome his fears and venture out onto the page? This sweetly relatable picture book from the acclaimed Deborah Freedman speaks to every child who's ever felt like hiding instead of facing the daunting world.
K-Gr 2—In this serene, unassuming story, readers meet Shy, a giraffe who is happiest—both figuratively and literally—"between the pages of a book." Shy, unseen for a large portion of the tale and unidentified until its close, is exceedingly bashful and prefers to experience the world by reading. In particular, he loves books about birds, and when he encounters a beautiful songbird, he makes the brave decision to follow her. Shy's journey takes him across wondrous landscapes and introduces him to other remarkable animals, but just as he summons the courage to speak to her, she is gone, and Shy returns home, heartbroken. When the songbird reappears, Shy, in a satisfying moment of daring, calls out to her (thus identifying himself to readers as well), and the two begin a sweet friendship. The spare text works in lovely concert with the soft, muted illustrations. Composed using pencil, watercolor, and bits of colored pencil, they evoke a sense of joy and wonder. As the book opens, the images are saturated with warm tones of orange and gold, hinting at Shy's identity, and bursts of soft blue and yellow accompany the songbird's introduction. Freedman expertly shifts the color palette to express Shy's emotions and moods. In moments of bravery, exploration, and friendship, the colors brighten; when Shy struggles with his feelings of timidity, the orange tones once again seep into the pages. The subtle beauty of the art invites multiple readings. VERDICT This warm, gentle meditation on overcoming fears and making new friends is suitable for a cozy read-aloud and quiet one-on-one enjoyment.—Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA