Michelle Cuevas and Sydney Smith’s Playful Boyless Shadow

Of brave and resourceful shadows and boys

When Smoot, a boy’s shadow, suddenly finds himself unstuck from his boy, a whole new world of wonders opens up to him! Having spent many long, lonely years with this child who never laughs or leaps or colours outside of the lines, he has dreamt of being free to experience life more zestfully. At last, he has his chance and he makes the most of it.

Soon other shadows are inspired by Smoot to pursue their own dreams. But eventually he sees that things are perhaps getting a little out of control and it’s time to reunite these playful shadows with their people. Finally, Smoot himself rejoins his own boy, who has been emboldened by his brave and resourceful shadow, and the two together embrace life with arms wide open. Happily for this joyful shadow, he can now say, “If life is a book, then Smoot the Shadow’s page was now filled with singing, ringing, flying, vibrant dancing color”.

Michelle Cuevas brings readers another gentle tale of wonder and whimsy. Her prose is lovely and ethereal and evocative, with beautifully descriptive turns of phrase (canary-yellow songs and dancing in wildflower red). She challenges readers to think about the importance of following dreams and opening oneself to all the many and varied experiences the world has to offer, of being brave enough to try new things and to follow your heart.

While Smoot and the shadows that he inspires joyfully pursue great things, there are still the people they have left behind. The truly profound message of this book lies in the creative solution that Smoot devises for bringing the shadows and their people back together.

Sydney Smith’s magnificent watercolour-and-ink illustrations add an extra layer of depth to this story. The deep, inky blackness of the shadows and Smith’s signature dark, bold, sketchy outlines contrast artfully with the delicate, sometimes-muted-sometimes-bright bursts of colour. There is energy and light and motion in each page, particularly the spectacular full-page spreads.

A gorgeous new offering from two notable talents.

Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow
Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Sydney Smith
Tundra Books

Written By

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

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