PPBF! When No One Is Watching by Eileen Spinelli

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it portrays how lots of kids feel and Mrs. Spinellli does it really well!

whennooneiswatchingWhen No One Is Watching

By Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by David A. Johnson

26 pages – ages 4+

Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers on February 7, 2013 (this is the official release date, but you can gt it already)

Theme/Topic – Being shy – Friendship

Opening and Synopsis –

“When no one is watching, I dance. I leap and I spin and I prance ’round the room. I twirl with my pillow and whirl with the broom. When no one is watching, I dance.”

A girl talks about her being shy around others and how she is herself when no one is there. But when people are there, she hides, keeps to herself and doesn’t want anyone to notice her. When she is alone, she is brave and she dances and she has a loud voice. The girl also tells us that with her friend (who is also shy) she feels more brave and less shy. Together the friends “don’t care who’s watching at all.”

Why I liked this book –  This is a great book about shyness by Eileen Spinelli, an amazing poet and author! The writing is musical and flows well. The message about being shy when people are watching is one a lot of kids (and I am thinking adults too) will like reading about. I also like the message about friendship and finding a person that can help you feel not so shy. I especially liked the rhyming and the rhythm of the story! I really like the illustrations, and the backgrounds chosen for each page. The artwork went well with the story. I think kids 4+ would absolutely LOVE this book like I did!

Activities and Resources –

Play “Red Light! Green Light!”. This is a game (if you don’t know it) where one person is “it” and they stand in one place. The rest of the people playing line up facing the person who is “it” a little way away from the “it” person. The “it” person turns around so she can’t see the others and yells “green light.” The others start walking (or running depending on how far away they are) until the “it” person turns around and yells “red light.” If the “it” person sees anyone moving, that person has to go back to the start. The “it” person keeps doing the “green light,” “red light” thing until someone reaches him/her. Then that person wins.

Discuss shyness with your child if they seem to be shy. Tell them that even presidents and movie stars and adults and kid book reviewers can be shy. 😉

Make some fun masks to “hide behind” for shy kids. My sister Josie actually gave me this idea. 🙂 When she was younger (like around 5), she made a mask and would wear it when she was feeling shy about saying something. She pretended it was her friend Zoe. Zoe would come and say things that Josie was too shy about. I think it helped her because we don’t see Zoe anymore. 🙂

To learn more about Mrs. Spinelli and all of her awesome books, please visit her website HERE.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

Categories: Age 1-5, Age 6-9, Erik's Favs

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33 replies

  1. This one resonates with me. And I love Spinelli’s books. Thanks for introducing us to her latest!

  2. I love Eileen Spinelli and this one looks like a keeper! It sounds like a must for my counseling suite!

  3. Wow! You just reminded me how much I adore Eileen Spinelli’s books. No surprise she has another book out. This looks like another winner.

  4. This was my story when I was a child, Erik. I was so thankful for my best friend, with whom I could be myself. Good pick!

  5. Great choice and great review; I think a LOT of children will be able to relate to this.

  6. The value of one friend. I love it. This is important, Erik. Mom helps me when I am shy. She said she was shy when she was little. I don’t believe her!!

    Love and licks,

  7. This book sounds wonderful, Erik and WOW! hot off the presses! 🙂 I love the message! My family is pretty evenly divided between the shy (who would benefit from this book) and the totally not shy at all (who would also benefit if it helped them understand what it’s like to feel shy!) Thanks for a great addition to our list!

  8. This seems like such an interesting book, and on a topic I understand only too well.
    I like what you said about Josie and her shyness. 🙂 I was a painfully bashful little girl and that shyness stayed with me for many years.

  9. Such a great subject. Lovely to be able to dance and perform when noone is looking.

  10. This looks like a great book Erik! I encounter a lot of shy kids on my school and hospital rounds. Dogs are pretty good at breaking the ice and getting people to let loose a bit. I really like your activity ideas. The mask thing is pretty clever!

  11. I have never read a book by this author. Is she related to Jerry? This sounds like a fantastic book. I look forward to reading it.

    • Yes, Mrs. Spinelli is the wife of Jerry Spinelli! She has written numerous books, picture books and novels. I have reviewed a bunch of them on my blog. 🙂 Thanks again for Jerry Spinelli’s LOOSER book I won! It was great!

  12. Another wonderful book! I think we can all relate. I often dance and sing when no one is around!!

  13. Brilliant idea! I can hardly believe this hasn’t been done before. Great pick, Erik!

  14. I clicked on the author’s link (very handily provided) since I recognized the author’s name but did not know this title. Boy, she has written a lot of books! Including my husband’s favourite valentine’s book, Somebody Loves You, Mr Hatch. This sounds like a perfect book for some children I know. I am ordering it from the library. Thanks, Erik.

  15. Another great Spinelli book. This sounds like an important book for kids. I was more shy as a teen than as a child. Guess as I got older, I became more self-conscious. Agree with you, I think adults could also benefit from this book.

  16. I’ve always enjoyed Eileen Spinelli’s writing – and this one has not been in my radar. I’m glad that you shared this Erik. A lot of kids find it difficult to come out of their shell, and this seems like a perfect book to recommend to them. 🙂


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