Monday, December 13, 2010

Review #78: Shadow

Dad:  Today we are taking a look at the book "Shadow."  Wow.  What did Suzy Lee do inside these pages?
Gracie (age 10):  She created magic.
Dad:  We are big Suzy Lee fans.
Gracie:  Suzy Lee, you are a marvel.  I never would have dreamed a book could get any better than "Wave."
Isaac (age 12):  But it did.
Gracie:  "Shadow" is outstandingly outrageous.
Lily (age 7):  It's about a girl who makes these shadows.
Isaac:  She's in her basement.
Gracie:  It's her attic.
Isaac:  I think it's a basement.
Gracie:  I think it's an attic.
Dad:  I always thought it was a garage.
Lily:  The little girl makes shadow shapes, and then they turn
alive.  Oh wow.  How does she do that?
Isaac:  See that little bit of yellow!  Everything that comes to life is starting to turn yellow.
Lily:  It's a world of shadows and magic.
Gracie:  Yellow magic.
Lily:  She makes a whole bunch of different characters.  There was a Fox and a Bunny and a Bird and a Princess and an Elephant and a Crocodile!
Isaac:  Then they start seeping into the real world.  See, the Fox is escaping!
Dad:  You guys keep saying Fox, but I always thought he was a Wolf.
Isaac:  I always thought he was a Fox.
Dad:  Actually, he's sort of human.  He looks more like a person wearing a mask and tail.  See, he's got people-hands.  Hmm, do you think it's really actually the girl?
Isaac:  That's what I was thinking.
Dad:  Because the Elephant got made out of the vacuum's shadow.  And the Crocodile got made out of the saw.  But how was the Wolf made?  Do you remember?
Gracie:  (Gasp!) The girl's shadow!  She did it!  That's why it looks so much like a person!
Isaac:  But didn't she make the Princess with her shadow also?
Dad:  She made both -- the Princess and the Wolf.  Do you think that's her two different sides?  She's got a good side and a dark side, and they play with each other?  Or am I reading too much into it?
Isaac:  You're going crazy.
Dad:  Hah ha!
Isaac:  Anyway, the Wolf escapes from the Shadow World.
Dad:  We need to decide if we are going to call him a Fox or a Wolf.
Isaac:  Oh yeah, I just said "Wolf" didn't I.
Dad:  It doesn't matter.  We just need to pick one and be consistent.
Isaac:  Wolf.
Lily:  Wolf.
Dad:  Wolf it is.
Isaac:  The Wolf escapes from the Shadow World.
Gracie:  There is magic between the worlds.
Lily:  The Wolf is evil, but then he turns nice after they scare him.  Then all the shadows come up into the real world, and she plays with them.
Isaac:  The two worlds smash together.
Dad:  That's one neat way Suzy Lee's books are similar to each other... "Wave," "Mirror," "Shadow."
Isaac:  In her books, worlds come together.  And things start coming to life.  And her books are two colors only.  And in the middle of the books there are explosions.
Gracie:  The books explode into colors.
Dad:  Tell everyone about the color in this book.
Gracie:  The pictures are yellow and black and white.  The book starts out with zero yellow.  The yellow appears when things start coming to life.
Dad:  The color is almost like a character itself.
Isaac:  The yellow is getting bigger and bigger, and turning more and more stuff alive.  Then it starts seeping onto the opposite page.
Lily:  It's everywhere!
Isaac:  Then at the end it's all yellow.
Gracie:  Yellow was a good color to choose.  Yellow is like light.  Light from a lightbulb is yellow.
Isaac:  The yellow shows that stuff is coming to life.
Dad:  The light is life.
Gracie:  But the end makes me sad.  The little girl becomes friends with her shadows.  They are having fun, and then...
Isaac:  Then it's dinnertime.  The light comes on and everything is back to normal.
Gracie:  It's so sad.  All her fun adventures and happy times are gone now.  Right when she makes friends with the Wolf.  It's so, so sad.
Isaac:  She turns the light off.  But then you hear another click, and the Shadow World comes back alive and dances.
Gracie:  Everybody down there is partying.
Lily:  Ha ha!  Look at the Bunny swinging on the string!
Gracie:  They all party after she's gone - they are having fun without her.
Dad:  See, so it's not too sad.  The fun continues.  She'll see them again.
Isaac:  Oh!  I never noticed this!  At the end, all the stuff that was cluttered is still on the ground, but the animals are also there dancing on top of them.
Gracie:  Yeah - there's the vacuum.  So how is the Elephant alive?
Dad:  She brought him to life, and now he can live on his own apart from the vacuum.  Maybe they will clean up the mess for her.
Isaac:  I need an elephant to clean for me!
Gracie:  You feel a connection to them all.  It made me so sad when I saw the light turn on and everything was just gone.  You have a special connection to the girl and her friends.
Dad:  Is it going to be fun to do our fan art pictures for this review?
Lily:  YEAH!!!
Gracie:  Dad you have to put up your picture on the blog this time.
Dad:  Mmmm... I don't put my pictures up.
Gracie:  You have to this time.
Isaac:  Let's have a vote.
Dad:  None of the blog readers want to see my pictures.  These reviews are about your reactions.  They come to read about you guys.
Gracie:  They might want to know about you too.  Please?
Dad:  Well...  Maybe I'll share my picture later in a special post.
Gracie:  Yea!  Dad's going to put his picture on the blog!
(editorial comment:  check back this Friday...  I'll put up a post with my pictures...)
Dad:  In closing, do you guys have anything you'd like to say right to Suzy Lee?
Lily:  You make wonderful books!
Dad:  Do you think other people love her books as much as we do?
Gracie:  Not possible.  We love her books more than anyone else in the world could.
Isaac:  Except maybe her mother.
Gracie:  Thank-you, Miss Suzy Lee!
Dad:  Well, she didn't send it to us.
Gracie:  Yeah, but...  Thank-you for just existing... to make this book.  Thank-you for existing.  Because you are the awesomest ever.

Shadow, by Lily (painted and pressed)

Shadow, by Gracie (painted)

Shadow, by Isaac (cut paper)

Author/Illustrator: Suzy Lee
Published, 2010: Chronicle Books
Like it?  Here it is


Terry Doherty said...

I was enjoying the review, then the kids' pictures took my breath away. Wow! Their admiration for Ms. Lee definitely stands out.

Lara Starr said...

This is just wonderful! I've shared your post with Suzy!

-Lara Starr
Marketing Manager, Children's
Chronicle Books

Lisa said...

Wow! I love the different approaches everyone took with their pictures--the medias explored. I will share this with my daughter, and perhaps we will explore our own shadow pictures, too?

Yes, I agree, Suzy Lee is very talented!

Holly@LitLad said...

Great review and pictures! We got Wave after you recommended it; we'll have to get this one as well.

Z-Kids said...

I try my best to keep our reviews focused on the kids' reactions -- I don't want to add too much grownup interference. But I thought I'd chime in here in the comments to say that "Shadow" is MY absolute favorite picture book to come out in the last 20 years. It is perfection. The way Suzy Lee managed to capture such drama, beauty, emotion, enchantment, and play all within just 40 pages is astounding. I've felt tears coming to my eyes while reading it.

ElizT said...

Nice to be with you all again, after a gap.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Great review, and your kids' pictures are awesome as always! Thanks for joining WMCIR.

jfb57 said...

Sounds like a great read! I will look out for it!

Unknown said...

I loved following this great book discussion. I love how Dad keeps them on their toes and involved in the book review.i

Susan Anderson said...

This is great!

And the pictures? Really cool.


H said...

It's great the way the children express their thoughts and feelings about the book through the art forms. Lovely, ,lovely work :)

Jenny said...

I've not heard of this author or this book. But I have now and I will get it ordered.

The premise of it is so intriquing. And the artwork you shared. Absolutely amazing.

What a lovely stop for this little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's letter "L".

I wish adult book reviews were written like this!

Thank you for linking.


Ames said...

I too have never heard of this author. I love the freshness of how a child views things in this world. Merry Christmas!~Ames

Brimful Curiosities said...

Still waiting for our library to pick this one up. Guess I'll have to make a special request after reading your shining review.