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JACKIE AND THE SHADOW SNATCHER by Larry Di Fiori

JACKIE AND THE SHADOW SNATCHER

By Larry Di Fiori

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: June 13th, 2006
ISBN: 0-375-87515-8
Publisher: Knopf

Strongly influenced by classic comics and underground comix alike, this monochrome, graphic novel-style mini-melodrama pits an anxious everylad against a menacing crook with both a tongue-twisting moniker and a gang of dwarfish, masked minions. Having lost both his math book and his shadow on the way home from school, Jackie turns to grizzled sage Mr. Socrates for help—and learns that his shadow, at least, has been seized by the Shadow Snatcher to incorporate into a cloak of concealment. So it’s on to the Snatcher’s spooky old mansion for a confrontation. Using layouts that place inset panels of various sizes into larger scenes, Di Fiori pumps up the suspense by giving Jackie a wide-eyed look, also adding eerie background details and plenty of noir atmosphere to the small town setting. Closing with a frantic chase and the well-timed arrival of a boatload of Keystone-like Cops, the episode will keep children, at least briefly, on the edges of their seats even as its self-conscious archness (the Shadow Snatcher is last seen dashing away, muttering “Groan! This is a repugnant situation.”) will amuse more sophisticated readers. (Picture book. 7-9)