Shy Little Kitten’s Secret Place


In the 1980s, Little Golden Books released a set of “Little Golden Book Land” books bringing back popular characters like the shy little kitten, the poky little Puppy, Scuffy the tugboat, etc. and putting them all together, apparently as tie-ins to an animated TV special.

As thin as its story was, at least “The Shy Little Kitten” had a positive message for shy children: It’s OK if you’re not as rambunctious and social as everyone else, because you can go off and do interesting things on your own, then come back to the company of others when you’re ready to handle it.

There’s a little bit more story in this book, but the message?

  1. If you’re shy, there’s something wrong with you.
  2. You’ll never have any fun.
  3. It’s your own fault.
  4. You should change yourself to be just like everyone else.

It’s toxic, whether it’s reinforcing shy kids’ own doubts about their self-worth or reinforcing other kids’ tendency to look down on them (now with extra “It’s your own fault” ammunition).

(And while the target three-year-old audience probably won’t mind, the book also suffers from the same problems as the rest of the “Little Golden Book Land” series: Background characters show up for no other reason than to have them show up, and descriptions are turned into names. We never learn the kitten’s name, but I don’t think it’s “Shy Little Kitten.”)

I hate destroying books, but I’m seriously tempted to toss this one in the recycle bin. Putting it in the donation box would be doing a disservice to whoever picks it up.