cover image Shadow Play: Story

Shadow Play: Story

Paul Fleischman. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (33pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021858-4

With its continually surprising plot, Fleischman's intriguing story cleverly teaches that ``appearances are as thin and deceptive--as shadows.'' A boy and girl at a turn-of-the-century fair spend their last pennies to see a production of Monsieur LeGrand's shadow puppet version of Beauty and the Beast. Another carnival attraction, Stupendo, ``the world's largest and meanest bull,'' seems to interrupt the show, but when the children are taken backstage afterwards, they discover that, except for the puppetmaster himself, all the stage creatures--including the beastly bull--are mere shadows. While the plot is tricky, Beddows's ( Joyful Noise ) superb black-and-white drawings make the story-within-a-story clear, and Monsieur LeGrand, with his Punch-like nose and grin, will surely beguile young readers. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)