cover image George and His Shadow

George and His Shadow

Davide Cali, trans. from the Italian by Debbie Bibo, illus. by Serge Bloch. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-256830-4

George, a bespectacled urbanite who sleeps in blue pajamas and a plaid hat, finds a black silhouette at his kitchen table one morning. “Who are you?” he asks. “I’m your shadow,” the silhouette replies. “Shouldn’t you be on the floor?” George points out. “I was hungry,” the shadow says. Bibo’s translation of Cali’s text is smooth and sly. George’s shadow spends the day doing everything he does, and “George began to feel more and more annoyed.” Now dressed in a plaid suit that matches his hat, George attempts to get rid of his shadow—permanently—including snipping him to pieces with scissors and trying to vacuum him up. Collage elements add to the visual slapstick, broad blocks of color hint at the light-versus-dark theme, and Bloch’s loopy line captures chairs, crockery, and city buildings with impulsive spontaneity. George is one of those adult characters who could just as well be a child; eventually, he grows to enjoy his new companion. Bonus giggles are provided by George’s crocodile-schnozzed dog, who helps him see the shadow’s potential as a friend. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)