Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it portrays how lots of kids feel and Mrs. Spinellli does it really well!
When No One Is Watching
By Eileen Spinelli
Illustrated by David A. Johnson
26 pages – ages 4+
Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers on February 7, 2013 (this is the official release date, but you can gt it already)
Theme/Topic – Being shy – Friendship
Opening and Synopsis –
“When no one is watching, I dance. I leap and I spin and I prance ’round the room. I twirl with my pillow and whirl with the broom. When no one is watching, I dance.”
A girl talks about her being shy around others and how she is herself when no one is there. But when people are there, she hides, keeps to herself and doesn’t want anyone to notice her. When she is alone, she is brave and she dances and she has a loud voice. The girl also tells us that with her friend (who is also shy) she feels more brave and less shy. Together the friends “don’t care who’s watching at all.”
Why I liked this book – This is a great book about shyness by Eileen Spinelli, an amazing poet and author! The writing is musical and flows well. The message about being shy when people are watching is one a lot of kids (and I am thinking adults too) will like reading about. I also like the message about friendship and finding a person that can help you feel not so shy. I especially liked the rhyming and the rhythm of the story! I really like the illustrations, and the backgrounds chosen for each page. The artwork went well with the story. I think kids 4+ would absolutely LOVE this book like I did!
Activities and Resources –
Play “Red Light! Green Light!”. This is a game (if you don’t know it) where one person is “it” and they stand in one place. The rest of the people playing line up facing the person who is “it” a little way away from the “it” person. The “it” person turns around so she can’t see the others and yells “green light.” The others start walking (or running depending on how far away they are) until the “it” person turns around and yells “red light.” If the “it” person sees anyone moving, that person has to go back to the start. The “it” person keeps doing the “green light,” “red light” thing until someone reaches him/her. Then that person wins.
Discuss shyness with your child if they seem to be shy. Tell them that even presidents and movie stars and adults and kid book reviewers can be shy.
Make some fun masks to “hide behind” for shy kids. My sister Josie actually gave me this idea. When she was younger (like around 5), she made a mask and would wear it when she was feeling shy about saying something. She pretended it was her friend Zoe. Zoe would come and say things that Josie was too shy about. I think it helped her because we don’t see Zoe anymore.
To learn more about Mrs. Spinelli and all of her awesome books, please visit her website HERE.
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!