Shy Ones

Simona Ciraolo. Flying Eye, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-912497-35-5
Ciraolo (Hug Me) sets her tale about social awkwardness in an underwater world of brilliantly colored sea creatures. A small, wide-eyed flapjack octopus named Maurice hides behind his parent’s ample form: “There’s a new kid in town, I don’t know if you’ve noticed?” a narrator observes. The creature’s glance shows trepidation as he prepares to enter fish school: “He’s not the type who stands out in class.” The others vie to answer questions; the octopus hides under his desk. And on the playground, “unless you were looking for him/ you wouldn’t know he’s missing.” Yet there’s another side to the small cephalopod. Ciraolo draws him drifting off alone to the Deep Blue dance hall, where he sways and flaps to unheard music in the dark ocean depths, surrounded by glowing creatures. “Oh, do invite him to your birthday party,” the narrator pleads—revealing, a few pages later, firsthand knowledge about shy creatures. Sly humor spices the spreads throughout—Maurice shows up to a party in a scribbly, outraged-looking paper bag mask. A plea for acceptance might embrace an unobtrusive aesthetic, but Ciraolo’s palette is bright and her line is supple; she makes shyness seem downright fashionable. Ages 3–5. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/07/2020
Release date: 06/02/2020
Genre: Children's
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