"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.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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[Page 117]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.