Disappearing Desmond

Overview

Desmond likes to disappear, blend into the background, and hide in the cleverest of places. But when a new student named Gloria arrives at his school, Desmond finds himself noticed for the first time. Can Gloria help Desmond get used to the life in the spotlight?
 
Anna Alter’s charming story is an original and reassuring take on overcoming shyness.

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Overview

Desmond likes to disappear, blend into the background, and hide in the cleverest of places. But when a new student named Gloria arrives at his school, Desmond finds himself noticed for the first time. Can Gloria help Desmond get used to the life in the spotlight?
 
Anna Alter’s charming story is an original and reassuring take on overcoming shyness.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"How Not to Be Seen" is a famous Monty Python sketch, but it also describes the peculiar and poignant talent of shy children like Alter's (What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?) hero Desmond, an anthropomorphized cat. Desmond is so self-erasing that he can easily blend into a classroom poster: "Sometimes, even his teacher could not find him." Then one day, a vivacious and persistent rabbit named Gloria (think young Auntie Mame with long ears) arrives in class and pulls Desmond out of his shell. One good turn leads to another, and soon most of the class wallflowers are blooming--although the final image makes it clear there's still work to be done. Many of Desmond's camouflage efforts show a lot of ingenuity, which could convey to some readers that his inner life in rich enough to compensate for his lack of friends. But Alter's empathy is never in question, and with Gloria's arrival it becomes clear just how much yearning was in Desmond's heart--socially confident readers and shrinking violets alike will be won over. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Ellen Welty
Desmond is a shy cat. He's good at disguises because he doesn't like to be noticed. He can hide out in the classroom, on the playground and on field trips. One day there's a new girl in his class. Her name is Gloria, she's a rabbit, and she likes to be noticed. What is even more amazing to Desmond is that she notices HIM! One day she notices him in the library and asks if she can read with him. From that day on they are friends and playmates. Desmond discovers that he likes having friends. Soon he begins to notice other kids who are trying to be invisible too. The acrylic illustrations are whimsical and fun and contribute to the character development. This is a wonderful story about having supportive friends and being a supportive friend to others. Children who are a little timid about going to school for the first time or making new friends in any situation will enjoy reading about Desmond and Gloria. Parents and teachers will find it useful for encouraging children to include others and make everyone feel welcome. Reviewer: Ellen Welty
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Desmond the cat blends in with his surroundings. In fact, his entire family fades into the background in their portrait. Everything changes when Gloria, a rabbit, arrives at school. Not only does she take every possible chance to get noticed herself, but she also notices Desmond no matter where he hides. To his surprise, he likes interacting with others. He even coaxes someone else from his hiding place to join the playground fun. Young viewers will enjoy spotting Desmond in his ingenious costumes and identifying others trying to stay out of sight in the schoolyard. Alter's animal characters will be familiar to those who know her previous books, including Abigail Spells (Knopf, 2009), featured in a library poster. This low-key story of how friendship can support and encourage others will be a welcome addition for most libraries.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375866845
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/24/2010
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 593,305
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

ANNA ALTER, like Desmond, was terrified of the spotlight when she was a child. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, where she studied illustration. Her books for children include What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe? and Abigail Spells, which Kirkus Reviews called “a winsome tale [that] demonstrates the value of friendship during the trials and travails of life.”
Originally from Virginia, Anna lives in western Massachusetts, where she visits schools to speak about her work. You can visit her on the Web at www.annaalter.com.
 

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