Mum and daughter have suffered some severe trauma. It’s the two of them now and they have moved to another home. The child is afraid. Mum assures her there is nothing to be afraid of here; that there are no dark places at all in the new house.
But under her new bed, hiding amongst cobwebs that hadn’t been swept for years, with dust piles big as rats, the child finds Shadow. She tells Mum, who can’t see him. In fact, she can’t see anything for days at a time. Lost in her thoughts, all she can see is what’s in her mind, occupying her every moment.The girl is alone with only Shadow whom she has now befriended.
He becomes her playmate. As they explore the house together, the child’s aloneness dissipates.
She goes willingly from the house with Shadow and wanders into the forest. But her new friend has discovered others like himself there. Together the shadows play, flit and hide behind trees, then slip away.
Darkness falls. All alone, there were no shadows left, just tears.
Daybreak brings the sound of her name.
Full of metaphors and underlying meanings, this book, impressive in every way, could be describing depression, family break-up or violence, or all these things. It speaks of sorrow and internal isolation, but also the strength of love and overcoming personal difficulties.
Beautifully constructed, visually stunning, with illustrations by Anastasia Suvorova, the gentle prose insightfully reveals human frailties and personal agonies, the resilience of children, and how the scars on adult lives affect family members as well as the sufferer. Ideal for adults as well as mature children.
Author: Lucy Christopher
Illustrator: Anastasia Suvorova
Publisher: New South Books, $24.99
Publication Date: December 2019
For ages: 6+
Type: Picture Book