Disappearing Desmond

What It Is

Some children are outgoing and some are not. This is the story of Desmond, who wasn’t just shy, he simply didn’t want to be noticed. Whether on a school field trip, at the beach or just about anywhere, Desmond liked to “disappear” into the background. When outgoing Gloria joined the class, she befriended him and he started to play out in the open. Other kids became his friends and he started having so much fun that he couldn’t figure out why he ever wanted to disappear to begin with. One day, Desmond noticed classmate Harold “hiding” in the bushes and went over to say hi. Soon enough, he was also playing with Desmond, Gloria and the rest of the class. Except of course, those that were still hiding!

Why It’s Fun

We all know very shy children. I have one shy child and one that pretty much likes being the center of attention. Anna Alter captures the feeling of a child wanting to blend into the background and not be noticed. At the same time, it often takes a only simple “hello” to bring someone out of his or her shell.

Ms. Alter’s unique graphic style makes this a very enjoyable picture book. Though the text is a very quick read, the illustrations are fun and cleverly have Desmond blended into the background. Parents and young kids will enjoy finding the “hidden” children on the book’s last page spread. And did I mention that Desmond and his classmates are animals? They are so humanistic, it’s easy to think they are just young people!

Who’s Going To Love It

Whether in the classroom or at home, this is a very sweet story of friendship and understanding. Gloria, who likes to be noticed, didn’t tease Desmond for being shy. She just wanted to enjoy his friendship. In turn, Desmond “pays it forward” by befriending a fellow classmate who has seemingly disappeared into the background. Because it is such a short book, it will appeal to the very younger end of the publisher’s 5 to 8 age recommendation, or even younger. On the “buy or borrow” scale, it’s probably worth checking out of the library to give a “test drive.”

Reading Time

About two minutes

Read-It-Again Points

7 out of 10

Book Information

Disappearing Desmond
By: Written and Illustrated by Anna Alter
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books (2010)
Approximate retail price: $17.99 (hardcover)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 5 - 8


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