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SHADOW reviews

Publisher's Weekly
Kirkus Book Review
School Library Journal


Shadow (Starred review)

Suzy Lee, Chronicle, $15.99 (44p) ISBN 978-0-8118-7280-5

 In a nearly wordless, nearly monochrome fantasy, a straight-haired girl--perhaps the same exuberant heroine of Lee's Wave--finds a secret world in the shadows cast by the light bulb in a storage room. The pages are meant to flip from bottom to top. With the top page held at an angle (say, while lap reading) the book becomes the room itself: on the top page, delicately drawn household objects cluster (a hose hangs over a ladder, the sole separates from a boot), while the bottom page becomes the floor on which shadows are projected. The girl starts out tentatively, making a bird shadow with her hands. As her imagination flourishes, the hose becomes a snake, the ladder a glade of trees, and a wolflike creature manifests; the forest teems with animal shadows, the wolf threatens, and the line between the "real" and imagined realms is blurred. Only the cry "Dinner's ready!" stops the action. Or does it? Once again, Lee focuses on a single idea, develops it with rich imaginative power, and executes it with grace and finesse. All ages. (Oct.)



• Kirkus Reviews
Circulation: 5,000

"An ingenious girl plays with shadows in the attic. Items and actions take on lives of their own, and malignant forces appear. But the heroine prevails: Animals join forces, friendships are formed and all ends well come suppertime. In this wordless tale, Lee once again blurs the boundaries between the real and imagined. Done mainly in black-and-white charcoal and pencil, with yellow to indicate intensity, highlight emotions and signify fantasy, the illustrations are stimulating. The protagonist is drawn with heaps of character in a plain, industrial way. This, in contrast to the sterile renderings of the everyday attic items and the graphic shapes and layered values of the shadow world, creates visual interest. With this tale, the illustrator uses the same conceits as in Mirror (2010), though more successfully, presenting complexity yet leaving the girl’s sense of play intact. She also manages--in this era of the digital reader--to make the turning of the physical page a unique experience, one that readers will want to explore, discuss and return to. One hopes, however, she will explore new emotional and narrative ground in her next book."


Starred review of Shadow from the November School Library Journal:

*LEE, Suzy. Shadow. illus. by author. unpaged. Chronicle. 2010. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-7280-5. LC number unavailable.

PreS-Gr 1–The world of shadow is mysterious and magical, where splayed hands become birds and canister vacuums transform into elephants. Lee’s nearly wordless picture book pulls children into this place as they watch a girl play in a cluttered storage room. As her imaginary world develops, the real one fades, until the two merge and a dangerous fox, created by the shadow of the girl holding a broken boot, breaks through the gutter and begins a thrilling chase. The book is read horizontally, with images from the top reflected as upside-down shadows below. It is meticulously designed and executed, effectively using the gutter and endpapers as integral parts of the story. Lee uses charcoal, pencil, watercolor, lacquer spray paint, and digital manipulation to create two interlinked and fascinating worlds. She employs yellow to denote elements created in the girl’s imagination: a few touches at the beginning, then more as magic takes over. As the action moves from the real to the imaginary, readers rotate the book to see the shadow world, then back around, creating a thoroughly interactive and engaging read. Children will pore over the book to see how each of the everyday objects, such as the hose and the wheels on the bicycle, transforms into a snake, sun, and moon in the shadows below.

–Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR

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