There Was a Shadow A Picture Book

There Was a Shadow

A Picture Book

  • ISBN: 9781592704064
  • Publication Date: May 21, 2024


Price: $18.95

From New York Times Best Children’s Book author Bruce Handy, a luminous picture book that invites careful observation of light and shadow in the natural world, as well as in our own emotional landscape.

A Publishers Weekly 2024 Summer Read!

As the sun makes its daily journey across the sky, light comes down to illuminate our world. Moving and dancing along with this light come a variety of shadows—those cast by the sun and those cast by our feelings, minds, and memories. Here we follow a girl from dawn through dusk into night as she and her friends play with their shadows, take refuge in the shade of a large tree, and set out again for home in the violet glow of twilight.

With a lyrical text from Bruce Handy and dramatic, sensitive art from award-winning illustrator Lisk Feng, There Was a Shadow invites readers to look up and down, in and out––to notice the position of the sun and the corresponding length or shortness of shadows, as well as the subtle ways in which light and shadow reveal and obscure things both in the world and in ourselves.

With images that swell and overflow with light, this is a picture book that is sure to awe and delight.


A Publishers Weekly 2024 Summer Read

STARRED REVIEW! ? “Lulling, mesmerizing lines by Handy observe shadows as they grow and fade, reflecting life over the course of a day... A reiterative narrative voice invites readers to pay attention... Short sentences, progressing stepwise, reveal fresh surprises... Atmospheric spreads by Lisk pay attention to the play of light and its source—sunlight casts warm shadows, the indistinct shadows of dusk contain mystery, and moonlit shadows enchant. Together, the creators’ shared intensity gives this carefully observed work its resonance.”

—Publishers Weekly

STARRED REVIEW! ? “The absence of light inspires its own unique story in this scintillating, kid-centered view of shadow play... Handy picks apart this day-to-day darkness while preserving its magic and wonder. Meanwhile, Feng’s art depicts the natural existence of shadows, outdoor and in, with an evocative sense of wonder. The world on these pages is rendered realistically, its innate magic still held intact. With kids’ fears banished, these shadows are no less enigmatic for being observed so closely in this lyrical, loving ode.”

“An evocative exploration of shadows, both literal and metaphorical… Handy examines the omnipresent big and small shadows of the natural world, from the noontime shadow a tree casts, to the subtle shadows that land on a face or water. Feng’s delicate, fine-lined illustrations bring these depictions to brilliant life on the page… Handy tells this multilayered story with tenderness and reverence for the interior world of children. There Was a Shadow flows like poetry and sparkles as Feng’s beautifully wielded, sun-dappled illustrations impart mood and mystery. It’s easy to get lost in these shadows.”


“This poetic picture book explores many aspects and types of shadows, both literal and metaphorical... Feng's lyrical illustrations play with light and dark, times of day, various emotions, and relationships between people and nature to perfectly match the poetic tone of the text.”


"A poetic catalog of light and shadow… There are the obvious—tall, skinny, soft, short, hard, faint—but also the playfully unexpected, like one of my favorites, ‘a look-closely shadow.’ Handy avoids writing anything eerie or scary. Instead, he tenderly describes the way light and shadow flicker in our minds and hearts. His sensitive, lyrical text acknowledges the complex emotional contrasts of being a child (of being human). As Woolf wrote in To the Lighthouse, ‘A light here required a shadow there.’ Lisk Feng’s illustrations are equally luminous, if not more so… We turn from page to page; the hours pass; light fades in and out, expanding and contracting, dancing and dazzling. Color and composition play with the changing dimensions of light and shadow, creating a vivid psychological portrait. Poring over the pictures, I’m inevitably struck by a shock: On an ordinary day, in the observable world, inside a bug’s shadow or a shimmer of sunlight on a cheek, the spectacular truth of existence is briefly revealed before it quickly fades back into the shadows."

—Moonbow, Taylor Sterling

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