By Author / Illustrator
Representation & Inclusion
Little Tiger Press Group
Paperback / softback
Timmy absolutely loves to perform, but only when there isn't an audience! Most of the time, they struggle with their shy inner lion who seems determined to keep them out of the spotlight. This vibrant and uplifting picture book explores how to overcome shyness in a gentle and familiar way.
When Timmy's classmates begin to prepare for the school play, Timmy longs to be a part of the performance. However, feelings of shyness and fear threaten to stop Timmy from doing what they love. With a bit of help from their friend, Nia, and a whole lot of bravery, will Timmy ever be able to strike up the courage to perform on stage?
By depicting these feelings as a roaring, wild lion, Harry Woodgate poignantly and vividly describes how it feels to be overwhelmed with anxiety. This picture book is perfect for readers who struggle with their confidence and is a warm reminder that we can do anything we put our minds to.
From the creator of Little Glow and Grandad's Camper.
On the face of it, Timid is a great story about a child whose shyness and fears manifest as a huge lion that follows him around. The story sees him team up with another shy child and they explore ways to build confidence so that they can perform together in the school talent show. All good so far, and the strategies they use are an excellent way to encourage shy children to become more resilient.
In my opinion, this story has been spoiled by the use of the 'they/them' pronoun. This is not mentioned on the blurb on the back cover and is only apparent from the end papers, which feature a picture of the shy child and their pronouns written underneath, and the text. Unfortunately this makes the text clumsy and slightly confusing when read aloud, as most young children are becoming used to 'they' being used to signify plural. Of course, the reader can change this to a 'he' or 'she' pronoun when sharing the book aloud but for a developing reader working through it alone, it just becomes another potential barrier to comprehension.
I do think this is a real shame, the illustrations are beautiful and diverse and the story is a valuable opportunity to think about positive ways to overcome shyness. The pronoun issue just feels forced and unfortunately this will make the book date quite quickly. If the publishers want to create a story that deals specifically with pronouns then they should do this, rather than use it as an afterthought in a book that didn't need it.
Picture book / Reviewed by Wendy Kelly, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 5+