In a pair of wordless fall picture books, two girls confront and interact with their shadows—one with innocent enjoyment, the other with mounting fear.
Suzy Lee, whose 2008 picture book Wave was a sleeper hit, returns with a second book from Chronicle, Shadow, to be released in September (earlier this year, Seven Footer Press published Lee's Mirror). In the new book, Lee's imaginative protagonist clambers among her attic's boxes, bikes, and old boots, while opposite a reflected shadow world teems with creatures dancing through a rainforest-like realm. Wave received three starred reviews and best book awards (PW, SLJ, and Kirkus), was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, and has sold nearly 50,000 copies. Chronicle's marketing plans for Shadow, which has a 20,000-copy first printing, include an animated video, posters, signed bookplates, and extra content (such as shadow puppet how-to guides) on its Web site.
Donna Diamond's The Shadow, her first book with Candlewick, is a more sinister take on shadows. In the picture book, out this month, a pink-sweatered protagonist observes, with growing horror, the slanting eyes, skeletal hands, and eerie purple glow of the shadow stretching across her room. The girl must summon up her courage and banish the shadow before she can go to sleep in triumph. "I'd never seen anything else quite like it," said Candlewick editor-at-large Joan Powers, who was first shown layouts of the book at Bologna in 2009 by Stephen Roxburgh of namelos, who had been working with Diamond on the project. "It's somewhat frightening, of course," Powers added, "but the wordless story is so true, much as we might like to think otherwise. It's a wonderful thing to face down one's fears, even if only for the time being."