Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book #22: Shadow by Suzy Lee

Image from Gathering Books blog

Shadow is a stunning nearly wordless book. The story is about a young girl who plays make-believe in her garage. On the left hand page you see the girl and her surroundings drawn in black and white with charcoal and pencil. On the right hand page are the shadows of the girl and the objects. At first the shadows are merely mirror images of their solid partners. But then the girl makes a butterfly with her hands and the butterfly glows into life on the shadow page. Soon the shadows are transformed into jungle creatures and the girl’s shadow dances among them. The conflict occurs when a shadow wolf leaps onto the left hand page, forcing the girl to escape into the land of shadows. Don’t worry, the wolf’s not evil, he’s just lonely. Soon everyone is frolicking together in a great explosion of light and shadow. That is until the girl is summoned to dinner and turns off the garage light.

Image from Chronicle Books
Because the book is almost wordless, make sure you take time to look at and talk about the illustrations on each page. Ask the kids to point out different details and then fill in the gaps with questions and comments. They’ll feel like they’re sharing the book with you when they get to point things out to you first. You may want to flip back through the book afterwards and talk about how different objects and their shadows transform as the book progresses. For instance, the girl begins the book eating an apple, but the apple later turns into a crown.

This book illustrates the idea of light versus dark very well. It would also fit nicely into a storytime about opposites. After you read this book, grab some flashlights or a desk lamp and make some shadow hand puppets on the walls. This short video shows you how to do 3 hand puppets, while Sweet Happy Life’s Ariela has posted a blog with 15 puppets.  Or try making some shadow puppets with paper and straws (my family always used chopsticks, they’re a little sturdier).

Have a random selection of objects and take turns setting items in front of the light to make shadows. Objects with holes make especially fun shadows. Just looking at the shadows can you guess what the objects are? What do the shadow shapes remind you of? Notice how the shadows change as you move the light or the object. Place a kitchen strainer on top of a flashlight to make “stars” on the walls and ceilings.

Try a few of these shadow songs and fingerplays, Shadow, What is a Shadow (scroll down a bit to find the fingerplay), and See My Shadow. To make them even more fun, sing/perform them in front of a lamp that casts shadows on a blank wall. If you’re in a big room, see if you can turn on an overhead projector. They make nice shadows with crisp, clean edges. 



  1. Hi Amy, Sorry I haven't stopped by for a while, you've been busy! Is it hard posting every day, or is it just fun? I love your reviews!

  2. Hi Elaine,

    I've been trying to write ahead so that each morning I just have to format and make last minute edits to the post. I've found it's more fun when I pick a book I'm in the mood to write about. Sometimes I go crazy trying to get the pictures to line up just so, but mostly I'm having a blast!