Shadowville: 9

Michael Bartalos, Author
Michael Bartalos, Author Viking Children's Books $13.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-86161-3
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-57687-645-9
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Boxy graphics in subdued colors characterize Bartalos's debut picture book, an inventive explanation of where shadows go at night. The shadows need a break after imitating people and objects all day, and so they head for Shadowville. There they dine (``Though they've/ Eaten/ Huge amounts/ They still/ Weigh only/ Half an/ Ounce'') and sleep in a ``shadow tree.'' The next morning, they're back on the job. Bartalos's rhymes and rhythms are generally on the mark, although some pairings require a little fudging (``trains'' with ``again''). Mustard, olive, blue and warm red highlight his angular, black-on-cream silhouettes; he softens bold contrasts with uneven, torn-paper-style edges, and, frequently, sets off the text against solid color fields. Literalists may object that the author neither accounts for such nighttime light sources as the moon and streetlamps nor considers overcast, shadowless days. Yet the imaginative stanzas and block-print illustrations, especially those matching shadows and owners, effectively convey his unique premise. Ages 3-8. (May)
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