If your young child wasn't already afraid of their own shadow, it's likely they will be after reading this book.
Marcia Brown's Shadow haunts the pages. It shifts, squirms, creeps and hides. It is eerie, disturbing. The stark colors and dark silhouettes strike solemn notes of an aching ancient dread. In a word, it is spooky.
But not maliciously so. The poem reassures that Shadow can do no harm–then reminds us that it's always there, lurking. It mocks you behind your back. It can cast a spell on you. You cannot fight it. You cannot move it. Perhaps most disturbing is the image of the crawling, broken Shadow after darkness has fallen. Without light it is broken and torn, but it cannot cry out because it has no voice. A shiver-inducing image, if there ever was one.
That's largely thanks to Marcia Brown's excellent translation of Blaise Cendrars' original African inspired French poem. Her dramatic, stunning artwork adds to the strongly visual poetry. Just be aware that this picture book is not for sensitive or young children.
What is Shadow? In the crackling coals, is it the spark? Light up! The spark has no shadow. The eye has no shadow, but Shadow is in the eye. It is the pupil! Every breath stirs it to life. It is a game. A dance.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
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