Too Shy for Show and Tell

Title: Too Shy for Show and Tell
Author: Beth Bracken
Illustrator: Jennifer Bell
Publisher: Picture Window Books, 2012
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-6
Themes: Shyness, School

“Sam was a quiet boy. Nobody knew much about him.
Sam loved trucks, but nobody knew that.”

Synopsis (from Capstone website):
Sam is a quiet little boy who hates show-and-tell. Just thinking about it makes his stomach hurt. Sam must find a way to conquer his fear of show-and-tell.

Show and tell of course.
Games for shy kids for getting kids to interact in a non-competitive environment.
Shykids is a website that discusses shyness in kids/teens and resources on how to help.

Why I Like This Book:
Perfect book for young children. The basic plot surrounds Sam’s fear of public speaking, however there is a deeper underlying theme about opening up to people around you and friendship. In the opening scene, a sad Sam is keeping to himself not saying hi to anyone as he walks to school. Nobody knows anything about Sam or what he likes. In contrast the end scene, shows a happy Sam waving good-bye to his friends as he heads home.

The author effectively uses short, simple sentences to emotionally connect to Sam. The reader will immediately be able to feel Sam’s fears and concerns, and will cheer for Sam in the end. The illustrations are visually appealing with a soft sketch-like feel and the animals have a roundness to them. Both qualities bring a warm endearing quality to the cast of characters.

This book is part of Capstone’s Little Boost series, that look to tackle early life lessons in a funny relatable manner. Check out the other books.

This review is part of Susana Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Picture Book Details:
As an aspiring PB writer, I often analyze a book for its text and illustrations to learn from it. Here are some of the details I liked from this book:

– The opening and closing scenes of Sam going to school/home being sad/happy. Nice parallels.
– Mention of the truck, cake, and dogs in the beginning, that later tie into the ending.
– Repetitive use of the line “Everyone clapped when he was done.” after each kid did his show-and-tell. This helps build up Sam’s confidence for show-and-tell and gives the young reader confidence that everything is going to be okay.
– Otto saying “weaf” instead of “leaf.” Realistic speech, young kids (like my 4year old) often have a hard time with L’s and R’s. Also it shows Sam that is okay to do be imperfect.

No Responses to “Too Shy for Show and Tell”

    • Darshana

      Thanks Catherine. I love it when I figure out the little details that make a book special for me. Also I am hoping some of that sinks into my own writing.

  1. thiskidreviewsbooks

    This looks like a cute story idea! The cover is nice. Shyness can be a problem for some kids. Thanks for sharing the things you learned and telling us about the websites! 🙂

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill

    This book sounds great, Darshana. We don’t have too many about shyness on our list, and it’s a big deal for a lot of kids. (One of mine has struggled greatly with it.) I really love the section you added at the end – analysis for writers – great idea!

  3. illustrationjunky

    This is so me, I dreaded show and tell. My daughter, on the other hand, can’t wait for it to be her day :D. More her daddy in that sense. The illos look wonderful, too!

  4. Joanna

    Thanks for outlining all the things that really made this an excellent picture book for you – great learning for us. This is such a huge topic for young kids and beautifully addressed here!

  5. Julie

    Even those first two lines made me love Sam. That is the sign of a very good book indeed! Thanks for sharing!

    • Darshana

      After you mentioned that I know have to add one more thing to my PB analysis on the use of repetition. The use of “nobody knew” as well as the crisp sentence structure.

  6. patientdreamer

    This cute story resonates with me. I wish it was around when I was little. Mum had such a job getting me to go to school because of my shyness. Loved your analysis at the end…listing them for things to look for in my own writing… thanks.

  7. Kirsten Larson

    What a wonderful way to give a boost to shy children. I love finds like this one, not too preachy but relevant. I’ll have to check into the series. I wonder if they have one for highly sensitive children?

  8. viviankirkfield

    Oh yes, Darshana…the perfect book…I definitely would have appreciated hearing this when I was a little girl…and very SHY. 🙂 Great review! Love the activities and resources!

  9. Stacy S. Jensen

    I’m adding this one to our library list. Story and illustrations do sound perfect.

  10. Romelle Guittap

    I love your reviews, Darshana. You make me want to go out and get this book now! My son is shy so this “would’ve” been perfect for him. He’s 12 now. I especially like the PB details you add in the end. As writers, it’s good to take note of these things. BTW: I honored you on my blog. Stop by to receive your award.

  11. What Do We Do All Day?

    I’ve really enjoyed each of these posts you’ve linked up to The Children’s Bookshelf. I hadn’t heard of any of them and they all sound so useful for parents who might have a specific situation they are dealing with. Also, I really like hearing your perspective on the books from your own author point of view. Thanks for linking up again.

    • Darshana

      Thanks Erica. I hope the books have been helpful for your readers. Glad you liked the “writer’s perspective” section, I try to do it when I can.

  12. Bethany @ No Twiddle Twaddle

    This sounds like a lovely picture book. The cover art is so attractive and appealing. I agree with Erica that you have such an unique perspective in your reviews that really makes them interesting and enjoyable to read. Thanks for linking up to The Children’s Bookshelf.

  13. a library mama

    I’m stopping by on the Kid Lit Blog Hop. This looks like a sweet picture book! Both my kids are extraverts, but four-year-old me would probably have loved this.

  14. Patty

    This looks like a fun and helpful picture book dealing with shyness. The first two lines of the book really tell a lot about Sam. I like your writer’s analysis at the end. I stopped by from the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

    • Darshana

      Hi Julie. It’s a great book. Can’t believe I forgot to put it on my Back to School booklist. Next Year. Hope you get a chance to read it.

  15. Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

    This is my son!!! Literally… He is so shy and he did everything he could to avoid show and tell last year. I think this book would be so perfect for him because I totally understand his anxiety. On top of it, his show and tell was in French, so there was the added dimension of doing it in front of the class in a language he is just learning. Poor kid. Thanks so much for linking this book in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. My library doesn’t have a copy but I’ll make sure they order one (and one for my school library as well!)

  16. crystalmarcos

    Thanks for linking to the Kid Lit Blog Hop. I love the cover on this one. My daughter tends to be shy in new situations so this sounds like something she would be interested in reading. Great review!


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