July 13, 2010

The Shadow by Donna Diamond

The Shadow
Author: Donna Diamond
Publisher: Candlewick
Published: July 13, 2010
Pages: 32
Price (Hardcover) : $15.99/$19.00
Type/Format: Picture Book
ISBN: (Hardcover) : 978-0-7636-4878-7
Age Range: 5 yrs - 8 yrs
Grade Range: Kindergarten - Grade 3


It’s an ordinary afternoon. A child comes home, heads upstairs, and sprawls on the floor to do some drawing under the watchful eyes of a pair of favorite dolls. But there’s another character in this wordless story: the shadow, unnoticed at first, then slowly creeping into her field of view. It’s a terrifying sight. Will the girl cower, or will she take on this shadow and tell it who’s boss? And where will the shadow go from there? With mesmerizing intensity, this dreamlike story tells an unflinching tale about recognizing and staring down one’s fears -- if only for a time.

A young girl confronts her fears in an eerie, wordless picture book featuring stunning, hyper-realistic illustrations.

My Thoughts:

This book I have such torn feelings about because it's a picture book with absolutely no words. Now, with that said, these I normally love. Why? Because it's free for the child's mind to make up the story they want. The child can tell the story they see in their mind as they go along with pictures alone and I love letting them do that.  I volunteer my time now and each child usually has at least one part of the story that's unique.  I'll tell you why I'm torn.  Donna Diamond does AMAZING (all in caps for a reason) illustrations and The Shadow is gorgeous.  The pictures are really striking.  But, for the age range, I think that for some children, it may be a little too scary.  Here's why, and I know I may get some argument because I know what the purpose of the book is.

The child in the story comes home from school one day where she is drawing and playing while her dolls watch.  At first the little girl doesn't even notice the shadow, but when she does, she's very afraid and she tries to hide.  I know now would be the time to explain to children that it's just your shadow and it's brought on at different times of the day by sunlight or by light in general. That it could make you look tall or short, etc.  But the shadow in this book is really scary and it doesn't look like the little girl at all! It has a face with cut out eyes and a mouth at times and also very boney hands that almost look like it is trying to grab the child.  After a little while the girl realizes that it's her shadow and she stands up to her fear.  I won't give away how she fixes it, but she's pretty proud of herself.  This part of the book was wonderful and the entire book is amazingly illustrated.  But, at the end of the book nightfall is upon us and we see the little one in bed.  She's sleeping and all looks well in her room until we get to the last page.  On the very last page and here is a SPOILER ALERT - we see a pair a very scary yellow sinister eyes hiding under her bed while she sleeps!  I just thought it was a little much and it would definitely scare most children into thinking there was something under their bed.  As an older child, probably not and an adult, no.  But the age range for this book and it being a picture book, yes.  So, for "The Shadow" I have to give it 3 tiaras for the story and 5 stars for the illustrations. I usually don't separate, but this book is beautiful and I really have to!

If you'd like to judge for yourself,  You can pick up a copy on release day, which just so happens to be today!

About The Author:

Donna Diamond has illustrated numerous children’s books and book jackets, including Katherine Paterson’s BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. She lives in Riverdale, New York.   Author's Bio (taken from Author's site) -  Donna Diamond was born and raised in New York City. She attended Boston University School of Fine and Applied Art and received a BFA in sculpture. Encouraged by Robert Blackburn, she pursued printmaking at the Printmaking Workshop and exhibited at the AIR Gallery. Ms. Diamond also creates art for books, where her work has met with critical success.

Her recent work explores the boundaries of painting and collage and incorporates the use of modern technology. Fascinated by the power of narrative, she recently completed a suite of seventeen paintings that work sequentially to express a psychological drama. These paintings will be published as a book called The Shadow in 2010. She is currently working at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop creating portfolios of prints.

In 2008 Ms. Diamond received the BRIO Award from The Bronx Council on the Arts. Galleries and museums she has exhibited at include The Longwood Art Gallery, The Pen and Brush, The Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, The Francesca Anderson Gallery, The Justin Schiller Gallery, The Brockton Museum, and The Society of Illustrators.


1 comment:

Feel like Preaching to the Princess?

Well then...Please leave all of your Noble Notes and Royal Ramblings here...

All will be taken into consideration.

XXX ~ The Princess