by Deborah Freedman (Author)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

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.

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Publishers Weekly

Shy is an awkward, bookish giraffe whose thrilling encounter with a real bird compels him to leave his confined existence to find her. "Treep treep troo-lee!" cries the yellow bird, and Shy is smitten. He's never heard birdsong before ("None of his books could sing"), and to find her he must go where he's never gone before. Shy is so shy that readers don't see him at all until well into the story. When Freedman (By Mouse and Frog) writes, "Shy was happiest between the pages of a book," it's a pun; an arrow points to the book's gutter, where Shy is hiding. Only when he starts to search does he step out onto the page and become visible. When at last Shy and the bird meet, he can use the line the story has been heading for: "Shy whispered, 'I'm shy.' " Florence (the bird) loves Shy's books, it turns out, and the two head for happily ever after. Freedman gently suggests that love can push us to be braver than we've ever been. Ages 3-5. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Sept.)

Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

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

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Raves for Shy

* "An exquisite treasure for bashful readers, animal lovers, and anyone who's ever wanted a friend."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "This tender story about overcoming one's shyness and making friends has the most delicate illustrations [which will] draw the reader in and make one want to visit Shy the giraffe and Florence the bird every night before bed."—School Library Connection, starred review

"New friends, whether shy or not, will enjoy watching this friendship blossom."—The Horn Book

"Freedman gently suggests that love can push us to be braver than we've ever been."—Publishers Weekly

"This warm, gentle meditation on overcoming fears and making new friends is suitable for a cozy read-aloud and quiet one-on-one enjoyment."—School Library Journal
Deborah Freedman
Deborah Freedman was shy as a child. Now she is the sometimes shy, sometimes brave author of several picture books for children, including By Mouse and Frog, The Story of Fish and Snail, Blue Chicken, and Scribble. She lives in a quiet house in Connecticut, where she happily read and draws and listens to birds sing. You can learn more about Deborah at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date
September 20, 2016
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV039090 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | New Experience
JUV002000 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | General
Library of Congress categories
Books and reading
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / New Experi
JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / General

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