SHADOW PLAY by Paul Fleischman


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Two kids at a fair can't afford tickets to see the fierce bull, Stupendo, so they go to the Shadow Play instead. Five shadow figures appear on an ornate stage to enact "Beauty and the Beast"; then, instead of the Beast, Stupendo himself dramatically interrupts the show and is tamed by the child who plays Beauty. Invited backstage afterwards, the audience discovers that all the figures, even Stupendo, are shadow puppets controlled by the benign, large-nosed man who sold them tickets to his performance. Beddows' elegant b&w illustrations sustain the illusion that there are live actors behind the screen, so that Beauty's taming of the Beast is genuinely heroic--in part by making the shadows a bit more supple and changeable than two-dimensional puppets would be. Still, the satisfying revelation at the end provokes an intriguing query: Can the illusion of art be even more wonderful than the reality it imitates? Good for discussion; better yet to correlate with other creative activities.
Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-021858-4
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2000


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