Marvelous New Picture Books Monday: Shy by Deborah Freedman


The cover illustration of Shy by Deborah Freedman immediately caught my eye. The use of watercolor that was beautifully blended, and the gradient of warm to cool colors as you make your way up from the bottom of the page were masterfully done. The animals truly felt like they were a part of the page and not just stuck on top after making the background.

This book of friendship begins with a giraffe named Shy who loved to read. His favorite books were about birds, but he had never actually heard a bird sing. One day he finally heard a bird, but was too shy to talk to it. Before he could gain the courage to talk to the bird, it was gone. Shy left home for the first time to find the bird.On his journey, he came across many creatures, and finally a whole chorus of birds! Shy listened for the bird he heard earlier. He heard the bird, but when he finally was prepared to speak to it, it was gone again. Sadly, Sky made his way back home.

Once at home, Shy longingly gazed at the birds in his books. Suddenly, he heard the bird again! Without hesitation this time, Shy sang back to the bird. At last, Shy and Florence the bird became friends and happily read Shy’s books together.

The book began with full pages of warm colors. As it progressed, the pages became more filled with cool colors, like the cover art. This made it feel like a rainbow, which is fitting because the whole story takes place outside in nature. The colors on each page corresponded nicely with what was happening at that point in time (i.e. blues were used when the birds were flying in the sky, reds were used at sunset, etc.) The colors were also blended into the animals, even if the animals weren’t the particular color of the page, which was unique (i.e. an elephant had shades of green since it was on the grass). This technique made the pages fit together perfectly; nothing felt out of place. Finally, the text was also placed in different places on each page (i.e. not always on the bottom of the page), making the book even more interesting to read. 

Post by: Halie Petrich


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