CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 18. . . .May 1, 2009
Lilly and Lucy's Shadow.
Christopher Aslan Kennedy. Illustrated by Stephanie Hill.
Vancouver, BC: Benjamin Brown Books, 2006.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
Best friends-Juvenile fiction.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.
Review by Alison Mews.
Their shadows might try to be scary and mean
And make them fall off the balancing beam.
They looked at each other as best friends do—
The answer was easy and in their hearts they knew.
It didn't feel right to go off and run—
That didn't seem to be very much fun.
So they decided together to take a big chance...
And ask their shadows if they wanted to dance.
Winner of an iParenting Media Award for Excellence in picture books, Lilly and Lucy's Shadow has been written to help children confront fear while also learning compassion and courage.
Best friends Lilly and Lucy invite Stan to join them on a balancing bar, but he's afraid he will fall because of his shadow. The girls realize their own shadows are enormous, and they experience some trepidation but spontaneously invite them to join in. The shadows are delighted as they
were waiting for just such an invitation, and all four twirl and whirl together through the park.
Bright, vivid illustrations make this well-designed book very attractive. Stephanie Hill has portrayed the girls in similar outfits and hairstyles but with different skin tones. Thus, their friendship is stressed more than their differences which serves to reinforce the concept of tolerance and acceptance. She also plays with the images so that shadows which initially appear large and foreboding become beaming sprites whose ponytails form heart shapes and whose joyful gyrations match those of the two girls.
Unfortunately, the language is unimaginative and the rhyming couplets often forced. It's also odd that the book's title has shadow in the singular when the shadows of both girls are equally integral. That aside, as a discussion starter to the larger concepts, the book provides a light-hearted approach in a package that should appeal to children. The heartfelt message in this book is reinforced by the circular placement of the words "forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, balance, joy, love, friendship, trust, courage, and honesty" around an illustration close-up on the back cover. The author intends to publish more inspirational books on these universal themes, and his second book, Wenda, the Wacky Wiggler, is now available.
Recommended with reservations.
Alison Mews is the Librarian of the Curriculum Materials Centre, Faculty of Education, at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL.
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