Book Title: Shadow (available here)
Author: Lucy Christopher
Illustrator: Anastasia Suvorova
Publication Date: October 2019
Most Suitable For: KS2
Reviewed By: Jenny Holder, Reading Coordinator at Liverpool Learning Partnership
A little girl and her mother are moving into a new house. In their old home, she felt assured that there were no dark spaces and nothing to be scared of. However, this isn’t the case in her new house. When she starts exploring, she finds Shadow hidden under a bed.
Shadow becomes a companion to the girl whilst her mother is distracted by sadness. We are told that “sometimes Ma couldn’t see for days.” It is never stated explicitly but the emotive use of facial expressions and the muted colour palettes imply that the child’s mother is experiencing a form of grief or depression.
The symbolic use of colour would be a great discussion point with a Key Stage 2 class. The brightness of the child against the muted colours at the start of the book demonstrates the isolation and loneliness she is feeling. The way that the colour palette moves from darkness to light mirrors the girl and her mother’s movement towards togetherness and community.
The sense of ambiguity and a need for inference means that this would be a great choice for exploration in PSHE. The children could use a graph to plot the emotional changes and annotate this with vocabulary to mark how the girl and her mother feel throughout the text.
Lucy Christopher’s careful and sensitive use of words paired with Anastasia Suvorova’s beautiful evocative pictures means that this is a wonderful choice for schools building book collections relating to mental health and emotional understanding.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Jenny for reviewing it.
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