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.
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, PACopyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.