Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great

The story

Is Sheila Tubman the outgoing, witty, and capable Sheila the Great? Or is she the secret Sheila, afraid of the dark, dogs, and swimming? Maybe this summer she’ll find out the truth.

Judy says

When I finished writing Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, I had to give Sheila Tubman, Peter’s nemesis, her own book. Sheila has all of my childhood fears – dogs, swimming, thunderstorms, night terrors. I always had a lot of imagination. Maybe too much. Unlike me, Sheila covers her fears with bravado. “I’m not afraid of anything!” she tells her new friends. It was said in my family that Judy is afraid of her own shadow. My older brother delighted in torturing me, taking advantage of my fears, jumping out of the shadows with a sheet over his head while making ghostly sounds. I can still be easily frightened but I’m proud to say I’m no longer afraid of dogs (most dogs, anyway) and I did learn to swim. As for thunderstorms…okay, I admit it, I’m phobic. If I’m home and there’s a big boom, I might seek refuge in my “thunder” closet.


I chose a line from the book. Can you find it?


Sheila’s special game of hide and seek is exactly as I played it with my father. The book is dedicated to his memory.

“It’s hard to imagine any child (or parent) who wouldn’t enjoy this absolute lark of a book… in which the author makes her points without a single preachy word.”

–Publishers Weekly