Playful and more than just a little mysterious—like a shadow-puppet play in full color.


Intriguing illustrations draw readers into a meditation on shadows.

The text employs direct address, encouraging readers to imagine chasing shadows: “If you follow them, / and try to catch them, / they will flit and flutter away.” A trio of Caucasian children plays at dusk chasing shadows through a sunset-hued forest. The simple text employs rhythmic, sometimes-rhyming language that, like the book’s subject, never settles down and allows itself to be caught. The illustrations themselves have the look of dioramas, the cut-paper figures of the children, birds and animals set into the scenes so that they cast shadows. Whether they are photographed dioramas, entirely digital compositions or a combination of the two is hard to say, but the slightly surreal combination of two- and three-dimensionality will have children examining the pages closely. At one point, the two girls, running, cast the shadow of a deer; in another picture, an artfully arranged cluster of mushrooms casts the shadow of a squirrel. The three children have a 1950s aesthetic; their wide eyes, snub noses and tiny mouths would be at home in advertising or storybooks of the era, particularly the little sister with pigtails and pedal pushers.

Playful and more than just a little mysterious—like a shadow-puppet play in full color. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7624-4720-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the pirate ship...pick the playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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Excellent for stimulating creative-thinking, art, and writing activities.


A cat gazes in wonderment at the world outside.

Wide-eyed, blue-collared, brown-and-black Inside Cat (who looks like a sinuous set of scribbles with pointy ears and large, googly eyes) peers from numerous windows in its large city dwelling. What sights there are to behold as Inside Cat leisurely, repeatedly “Wanders. Wonders” around, looking out of windows square, round, thin, wide, and otherwise diverse in shape, size, color, and/or spatial arrangement. From assorted vantage points, Inside Cat views fascinating people, objects, creatures, and activities. If Inside Cat has only a partial understanding of what it sees (“fluffy rats” are squirrels; “roaring flies” are helicopters), it fills in the scenes with imaginary details that, delightfully, appear in pale lines on the white interior walls surrounding the windows. Inside Cat explores the world via window on every floor of its house so regularly that it knows all there is to know about the world inside and out. But…don’t be surprised when the final, full-color page leaves you breathless—as it does our protagonist; one wonders why this feline remained indoors so long. This delicious charmer, told in simple, rhythmically lilting verse as light-footed as a cat, develops vocabulary and reinforces basic concepts like shape and size, directional and spatial relationships. The wonderful, loose illustrations were created with mixed media, each employed expertly to delineate the varied perspectives presented all at one time.

Excellent for stimulating creative-thinking, art, and writing activities. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7319-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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