Review: Captain Starfish by Davina Bell

Captain Starfish by Davina Bell

Captain Starfish by Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Colpoys (9781419728372)

Alfie sometimes gets a feeling, the one that makes him not run relay races or go to parties. This time, Alfie was worried about being a starfish in the school parade. He would get to be first in the parade. Alfie practiced at home, pretending he was at school. That night, his parents tucked him into bed, but Alfie didn’t sleep well at all. His sleep was filled with watery nightmares and when he woke up, his tummy hurt. He just can’t bring himself to be a starfish at school. That day, his mother took him on a special trip to the aquarium where Alfie discovered the shy clown fish that ducked between the rocks. Maybe next year Alfie can join in on the fun in his own way.

Bell beautifully captures the experience of a shy child in this picture book. Particularly noteworthy is her explanation of the physical manifestations of shyness and the way that it can shut children down entirely. It is also very special that she shares supportive parents who show not only patience but a willingness to support their child on his journey toward independence.

The art in this picture book is done in a particular color palette that includes sea blues, deep blue and papaya pink. Alfie’s entire bearing in the illustrations shows his hesitation and worry.

A lovely quiet book about shyness. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.