From an African-inspired French poem, Marcia Brown has created a vibrant picture book that packs a new and unexpected wallop at every turn of the page. The words profile Shadow—a spooky presence, a watcher, a prowler and dancer, a mocking trickster: full of life in the daytime when it "races with the animals at their swiftest," heavy when night falls, blind and groping when the fires go out. Brown picks up each of Shadow's moods and guises: from the first opening, a stunning horizontal symmetry of reflected green land, silhouetted black trees and figures, and bulls-eye sun in a striated orange-red sky—we turn to the deeper reds and blues and dominant, droopy black silhouette of the lush jungle that half-hides Shadow's ghostly presence. Shadow slides up behind the storyteller, blue behind the man's hypnotic black form—or, blind and black itself against blue sky, it crawls eerie and spider-like with reaching oversize hands. It is unobtrusively present behind a crouched hunter in a dazzling, crinkly-textured, gold field—then ascendant in the amusing, "mocking" spread that seems a sort of muted shift on the same chord. The closest comparison is with Brown's All Butterflies, except that this is more than a stunning portfolio; throughout, there's a rhythmic relationship among the spreads themselves. A knockout.