Stuck Inside was inspired by Sally Anne Garland’s interest in the small world children inhabit, the way the simplest things can be so new and exciting, and how the best fun often begins when children are at their most bored. With delightful illustrations, this sweet and timely story of how Tilly and Toby entertain themselves during a storm will spark the imagination of any child who feels ‘stuck.’

Sally Anne Garland grew up in the Highlands of Scotland. After studying Illustration and Graphic Design at Edinburgh College of Art she settled in Glasgow, where she currently lives with her partner and their son.

A Really Boring Beginning

Recently, we have all had to do a lot of staying in and this can lead to feeling very bored. 

My picture book, Stuck inside, is exactly about those feelings and the two characters in my story, Lucy and her little dog called Toby, both have to stay inside and can’t go out to play.

Whilst I was writing the story, I thought about days when I was young, when there seemed to be nothing much to do.

However, it was exactly those kind of days, when I would end up having some of my best times. If I hadn’t been so bored in the first place, then perhaps I wouldn’t have tried to find something better to do, just like Lucy and Toby.

It may make you feel cross, sad or frustrated but being bored isn’t always a bad thing.

Some of the best stories and books often begin with boredom, loneliness or grumpiness but eventually, if you keep reading, these same feelings often lead to something far more exciting.

Stuck Inside

In the book, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” if the children had not explored their uncle’s big, boring house; they perhaps would have not opened the wardrobe door and found the magic land of Narnia.

If Max from the story, “Where The Wild Things Are”,  had not felt cross and bored; he may not have had a big adventure with the Wild Things.

Wendy and the other children may not have flown away with Peter Pan to Never Neverland, had they been quite happy to stay in their beds.

If the writer Judith Kerr and her small daughter had not been “Terribly bored” one day; do you think she would she had written and drawn the story “ When A Tiger Comes To Tea”?

Like these stories, I thought it would be good to write two story starters that seem to begin a bit drearily. You can then write or draw pictures for a more exciting and imaginative ending. 

Choose one of the ideas or do both if you like.  

1. The Grey Suitcase

They were running late again and had already missed their usual bus.

 Add name here and her mummy both sat on the cold, plastic seat of the bus shelter to wait for the next one.

It wasn’t raining but it was a very dull, grey morning — very grey. 

Add name here started making a list all the grey things he/she could see. 

Grey sky, grey pavement, grey socks, grey cat, grey car, grey suitcase. 

A grey suitcase?

In the corner of the bus stop was a rather dull, grey, old suitcase. 

It had seen better days and had lots of stickers peeling off it. 

Tied to its handle was also a large, paper label with something written on it.

Add name here shuffled along the bus stop’s seat to look closer and could just about read the label. 

It said,  “If found, please look after — do not look inside.”

2. The Door

Add name here was definitely feeling a lot better. So much better he/she was bored — very bored indeed.

He/she had read all his/her books; finished playing all her games; watched lots of TV and now he/she officially had nothing to do.

So he/she  lay bored on his/her bed making silly noises.

Then he/she twiddled with his/her hair for a while before seeing how far he/she  could hang upside down, before slumping off his/her bed to the floor. 

Finally he/she decided to just lie on the floor staring up towards the ceiling and that’s when he/she first saw it —  a tiny door, so small you would not normally notice it.

Stuck Inside

Written and Illustrated by Sally Anne Garland 40-page hardback picture book with jacket

There are activities created by Sally Anne for the book which are free to download from 

STUCK INSIDE £12.99 978-1-5037-5866-7   Published 6 May by Sunbird Books @SunbirdKidBooks

Sunbird Books is the home for innovative and original books for children. From board books to storybooks (and everything in between!), our titles represent strong, lively, and diverse voices that reflect children’s realities and feed their imaginations while nurturing up-and-coming writers and illustrators from around the world.