Sarah's Shadow by Nick Jones
|Sarah's Shadow by Nick Jones|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A sweet story about wish fulfilment not being all its cracked up to be. Accessible but expansive vocabulary, impactful illustrations and a message of being comfortable in your own skin(shadow). Lovely.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: November 2017|
|Publisher: Full Media|
|External links: Author's website|
If you could change something about yourself, would you do it?
Sarah Simpkins gives it a go in Sarah's Shadow. Mean old Yasmin Hughes points and sniggers at Sarah in the school playground one day "Sarah's shadow is long and thin, just like her". And everybody laughs. It's humiliating and Sarah goes home feeling horrible and unworthy. So, when she sees a falling star out of her bedroom window and her mum tells that she can now make a wish, Sarah wishes for her shadow to go away. And go away it does.
At first, Sarah is overjoyed about not having a shadow that people can laugh at. But soon it becomes apparent that having no shadow might make Sarah stand out in just as embarrassing a way and she begins to regret her impulsive wish. But how to put things right? It will take a school camp and a game of shadow puppets to sort things out once and for all...
I like the underlying messages in this story. Firstly, bullying is b-a-d. It hurts people. Sarah's Shadow makes this very clear, as it shows her walking home from school with a tight knot in her stomach and fighting back tears. Secondly, immediate wish fulfilment doesn't always solve your problems like you think it will. Changing yourself isn't the answer to bullying because you aren't the problem. Parents and children reading this story together will be able to have some very useful, affirmative conversations about self image and that is a very good thing.
I also liked the vocabulary choices, which are accessible and basic in the main but also including some stretching words - yelp, glee, mumble, moonlit. And there's some lovely rhythm too - a thought is niggling and jiggling in Sarah's head right at the moment a shooting star whizzed and flickered and flashed across the sky. This kind of thing is great for repetition and word recognition.
Si Clark's illustrations are fabulous. In a story about feelings, they pull your attention to faces full of clear emotions and with great impact. I loved the panel in which Sarah is wishing her shadow away. Eyes scrunched, breath held, you can really feel how much she wants it. And the panel where the shadow does slink away, unwanted, is almost unbearably sad. I also loved Sarah's shadow puppets, where Clark has given us enough detail to be able to practise them for ourselves.
Sarah's Shadow is a sweet story about wish fulfilment not being all its cracked up to be. It has accessible but expansive vocabulary, impactful illustrations and a message of being comfortable in your own skin(shadow). Lovely stuff and recommended for sharing.
You can find another lovely story to share about shadows in Colin and the Wrong Shadow by Leigh Hodgkinson
You can read more book reviews or buy Sarah's Shadow by Nick Jones at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Sarah's Shadow by Nick Jones at Amazon.com.
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