Silhouette Artform of Clay Rice
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REVIEW: The Lonely Shadow


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A songwriter/silhouette artist combines his skills to tell a sweet story of companionship.

Over the course of a day, the black figure of childlike shadow searches inside and out, looking for a mate. He tries out various possibilities until an owl sends him to where the children are, and he finds a matching boy. Intricate cut, black-paper illustrations carry this slight story. These images go far beyond silhouette portraiture. Some make use of negative space (open or filled in as white) to add objects to scenes, as the artist has done with the heron and rabbit on the cover. Some are full scenes, some include frames, and smaller ones could almost be the animals that were cut out. Paper-cuts and text are sometimes set on a background of varying colors and sometimes directly on the glossy white pages. In the narrative, the shadow repeats a refrain, “I have no you / you have no me, / you and me / we have no we.” But beyond the song lyrics, further use of rhyme and alliteration adds to the pleasure of reading the story aloud. Grandpa’s polka-dot underwear adds bathroom humor, sure to be appreciated by small listeners, as well.

This friendship tale may inspire some craft projects as well as appreciation. (Picture book. 3-7)









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