So begins David Lucas' quirky, charming tale about a most unusual boy. Being shy is hard, especially with a name like Halibut Jackson, which definitely attracts attention. Blending in is what Halibut does best, by making suits that help him become part of the scenery. In the garden, he wears a suit with flowers on it. In the supermarket, it's hard to tell Halibut from the bin of bright, red apples. And in the library, you guessed it Halibut is decked out in a suit with pictures of books on it. Not only does Halibut blend in, he practically disappears! All this changes when our hero receives an invitation from Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty the Queen is celebrating her Grand Birthday Party. What's a shy boy like Halibut to do? He longs to see the palace, so Halibut makes himself a suit that will help him blend in perfectly. It's a suit of silver and gold, covered with jewels.

But how was Halibut to know this was a garden party? Among the guests, he's the one who stands out the most! Luckily, all turns out well. Halibut finds that his original suits have become a hit, and he develops friendships, soon forgetting all about his shyness. Or almost, for, "although he was still a little shy, it seemed not to matter so very much at all." Unlike Halibut, artist David Lucas certainly doesn't try to blend in. His delightful story stands out for its humor, subtle multicultural touches and child-pleasing details. This is the first book from Lucas, an Englishman who studied at the Royal College of Art. But with his warm, playful pictures, keen eye for details and knack for creating endearing heroes, it's sure to be the first of many. Deborah Hopkinson's most recent book is Shutting out the Sky.

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