In Plain Sight

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
In Plain Sight Book Poster Image
Playful, loving relationship shines in sweet grandpa tale.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Show kids a glimpse of urban life -- living in an apartment on a busy, diverse city street. The apartment is full of books and games for lots of indoor fun. 

Positive Messages

It's fun to make up games and play with your grandparent. It can be fun to surprise someone. You can have fun indoors with games and art supplies.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sophie is kind and caring and asks her parents' permission before plunging ahead with her idea of a way to surprise Grandpa. Her parents are loving and supportive. Grandpa is attentive to Sophie, waving goodbye from the window or the building's front door when she goes off to school and waving hello when she comes home on the school bus. He's fun-loving and thinks up ways to entertain Sophie. He's shown reading poetry, reading the newspaper, and surrounded by books, modeling the joy and value of reading. He mentions Sophie saving a dollar she's found "for college," gently implying the value of higher education. 

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Richard Jackson's In Plain Sight, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, won a 2017 Caldecott Honor. It's the gentle story of a simple hide-and-find game young Sophie plays after school with her grandpa, who uses a wheelchair and lives with Sophie, Mama, and Daddy. It's a warm, cozy portrayal of a loving African-American family.

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What's the story?

Every day after school, young Sophie comes home to her apartment and visits with her grandpa, who tells her he's lost something -- a paper clip, a rubber band, a coin -- which she then finds IN PLAIN SIGHT.  They both look forward to this little game. Then on Sunday, Sophie surprises him by hiding behind the curtain in his room -- where he can find her when he wakes up. 

Is it any good?

This gentle story of a girl and her grandfather reveals layers of caring on both sides. The ritual of their simple afterschool game underscores their sweet, warm relationship in the context of a loving, supportive family -- and their expressive tabby cat -- sharing a city apartment.

Jerry Pinkney's detailed watercolor illustrations in a warm orange and sepia palette spotlight the anticipation and fun of the game, as well as the characters' changing emotions -- including gratitude and empathy -- making In Plain Sight entertaining, relatable, and an especially cozy read for grandparents and grandkids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the grandparent-child relationship in In Plain Sight. What in the art and the story shows you they're close?

  • Do you play games or share special times with your grandma or grandpa? What do you do together to have fun?

  • Sophie and her grandpa have lots of fun playing a hide-and-find game and checkers. What other fun things could they do together indoors? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and grandparent stories

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