cover image There Was a Shadow

There Was a Shadow

Bruce Handy, illus. by Lisk Feng. Enchanted Lion, $18.95 (52p) ISBN 978-1-59270-406-4

Lulling, mesmerizing lines by Handy (The Book from Far Away) observe shadows as they grow and fade, reflecting life over the course of a day. A reiterative narrative voice invites readers to pay attention as morning dawns, “a new shadow,/ but also the last hint of night.” As the sun rises in the sky, noted shadows include that of a hill (“a tall, wide shadow”), an insect (“a look-closely shadow”), and gathering children (“moving, dancing,/ playing shadows”). Short sentences, progressing stepwise, reveal fresh surprises, as in “a hard shadow,/ a noontime shadow.// It was shade.” The sun climbs higher, the day ends, and the dusky shapes lengthen again into “an almost everywhere/ sort of shadow./ It was evening.” Atmospheric spreads by Feng (The Great Barrier Reef) pay attention to the play of light and its source—sunlight casts warm shadows, the indistinct shadows of dusk contain mystery, and moonlit shadows enchant. Together, the creators’ shared intensity gives this carefully observed work its resonance. Characters are portrayed with various skin tones. Ages 5–7. (May)