Shrinking Violet

Overview

Never has being shy seemed so rewarding!

Whether she's impersonating Elvis, swaggering like Captain Hook, or imitating the sounds of a cricket, Violet is expressive and funny — but only when she's alone or with her best friend, Opal. At school, especially around class bully Irwin, who teases her nonstop, she retreats into a shell of shyness. But when Irwin, playing the part of Planet Mars in the class play, begins to spin wildly out of control and threatens to ruin the entire ...

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Overview

Never has being shy seemed so rewarding!

Whether she's impersonating Elvis, swaggering like Captain Hook, or imitating the sounds of a cricket, Violet is expressive and funny — but only when she's alone or with her best friend, Opal. At school, especially around class bully Irwin, who teases her nonstop, she retreats into a shell of shyness. But when Irwin, playing the part of Planet Mars in the class play, begins to spin wildly out of control and threatens to ruin the entire production, it's Violet who saves the day — managing not only to give Irwin his comeuppance but to find her own unique way of surviving the spotlight.

Illustrations brimming with humor and charm add to the fun in this fresh take on overcoming shyness.

Violet, who is very shy and hates for anyone to look at her in school, finally comes out of her shell when she is cast as Lady Space in a play about the solar system and saves the production from disaster.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This clever picture book takes an honest look at shyness and its debilitating effect on a young girl named Violet. During the school day, Violet doesn't like to draw extra attention to herself in any situation, especially if it means Irwin, the resident wise guy, will notice her and make insulting comments like "I'll be watching your fat knees." When he does, she blushes, twirls her hair and wishes she could just shrink away. For as long as Violet can remember, she has preferred to look and listen instead of being an active participant in events. The only time she reveals her true self is when she plays with her best friend Opal; then, she gives silly speeches, sings like Elvis Presley and shouts like a sports announcer. When Violet learns that she will play the role of Lady Space in a class play about the solar system, her nervous jitters begin, but not for long. Her role will be performed offstage, and excited about working behind the scenes, she learns her lines as well as everyone else's. On opening night, everything goes as planned until Irwin forgets what to do and causes chaos on stage. Violet interjects new lines for Irwin and gets a raucous laugh from the audience. After the show, he thanks her and draws attention to her once again by winging one of his famous insults. Only this time, she doesn't feel like shrinking away and doesn't let it bother her. Potter's silly, expressive characters dance across the page and bring the author's wonderful words to life. All families should add this delightful book to their collections. 2001, Farrar Straus and Giroux, $16.00. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Debra Briatico
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Violet is painfully shy and has always avoided anything that will draw attention to herself. She does not make waves in the swimming pool, swallowing sounds at snack time, or her voice heard in the Salute to Spring concert. When she is noticed despite her efforts, she wishes she could shrink away and writes "I am allergic to attention" on her hand. The situation is exacerbated by Irwin, whose main delight is in teasing her. The thought of having to participate in the class play terrifies her, until a refreshingly sensitive teacher comes up with a solution that not only comfortably places her center stage but also allows her to see Irwin in a different light. Best does an admirable job of fleshing out Violet's character, allowing readers to see the intelligent and funny child that her peers cannot, and makes a strong but subtle case for shyness being understood and accommodated instead of judged. Potter's pleasantly quirky illustrations are particularly effective in their composition. Violet is often placed facing out, as if making a sympathetic connection with her readers. Whether shared one-on-one or in a group, this is a first-class choice.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The creators of Three Cheers For Catherine the Great (1999) deal inventively with an all-too-common situation in this tale of a shy child finding the inner stuff to withstand a bully's taunts. Classmate Irwin's sly comments about fat knees and hairy arms have Violet nervously fingering her hair and trying to disappear. An upcoming class play about the planets looks like just another chance for Irwin to make her wilt in public, until her understanding teacher gives her the role of Lady Space, an offstage, invisible announcer. Better yet, when Irwin loses his concentration during the performance, Violet talks him back with unflattering ad-libs that sound like part of the script. Whether in school dress or globular planet costume, Potter's figures seem to dance across the pages, showing a lively range of feelings through expression and body language. In the end, Irwin actually thanks Violet in private, and though he continues to rag on her in public, she's gained enough self-confidence to ignore him. Wallflowers of all stripes will enjoy watching Violet putting Irwin in his place without raising the hostility level-a tricky, but effective, strategy. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555925192
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Cari Best and Giselle Potter's previous collaboration, Three Cheers for Catherine the Great!, was a Booklist Editors' Choice and selected a Best Book of the Year by both Publishers Weekly and Child magazine. Ms. Best lives in Weston, Connecticut, and Ms. Potter lives in Kingston, New York.

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