Writing and Ruminating

Thoughts on writing, reading, and poetry. With the occasional diversion, bien sûr.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

SHADOW by Suzy Lee

In 2008, Suzy Lee came out with a wonderful wordless picture book entitled WAVE, which I adored. And this year, Ms. Lee has a brand-new picture book that is mostly wordless. (The word "CLICK" appears twice, and the sentence "Dinner's Ready!" is in there.)




It is one of those weird books that opens top to bottom instead of left to right, which makes each page wider than it is tall. On the top half of each spread is a little girl in the real-world attic (I thought it was a garage, but the flap copy says otherwise), and on the bottom half is the shadow world. At first, the shadows are 100% faithful to the images above, but eventually, the shadows morph - a bicycle becomes a circle and a crescent (the sun and the moon), a vacuum cleaner hose and some boxes become an elephant - and, more than that, the shadows and the little girl begin to interact in wild and interesting ways.

In fact, in many ways, the story told almost entirely through pictures has a lot in common with one of my favorite picture books, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. There is a girl instead of a boy, and no wolf suit, and no timeout, but there is most decidedly a wild rumpus and a presumably hot dinner. And the same celebration of the sort of imagination that allows kids to sometimes get so caught up that the lines between real and pretend blur.

I had hoped to embed this cool Scribd thing that the good people at Chronicle Books (who sent me this lovely book to review, btw) have set up on their website, but as it uses Shockwave, it's not supported. You may, however, click this link to open the Chronicle page, where you can see four interior spreads in addition to the cover. The spreads are in order, although they omit the first spread in the book.

I tried to nominate this book for a CYBILS award, but someone beat me to the punch. (Something that has been my fate in pretty much every category this year - WHY do so many people share my excellent taste?)

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