Alone at dusk, a girl wordlessly tackles a demon. On the title page, she stands outdoors; observant readers will notice (though the girl doesn't) that even in sunlight, her shadow has glowing eyes, shaped menacingly. As the sky purples, the girl heads indoors and up a misshapen staircase to her bedroom. The shadow's silhouette roughly mimics the girl's body angle and shape, its eyes always frighteningly sinister. Suddenly she sees it. After a few terrified postures, she folds her arms and faces it down. For the first time, its eyes show subdued repentance or fear. The girl turns on a bright bulb, ostensibly banishing shadows and gloom, but even then, a distorted bookcase and oddly mobile drapes maintain the eerie atmosphere. She falls asleep feeling safe, bed flooded in moonlight. On the final page, though, demonic eyes glow underneath the bed. Diamond's photorealistic acrylic paintings are haunting and may haunt—furniture and walls curve and buckle, light sources behave surreally and the lack of text evokes silent nightmares. Powerful, but select audience carefully. (Picture book. 5-7)Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Gr 1-3--A little girl comes in from playing outside, and a shadow follows her into the house. Although this is a wordless picture book, readers immediately sense something untoward and carefully follow the protagonist up the stairs to her room. As she sits on her bedroom floor drawing, the shadow lies in the background, waiting. The girl swivels around, sees the eerie shape, and cowers behind a chair. Courage prevails, however; she stares the shadow down, and, by turning on a light, banishes it from the room. Thus far this is an empowering story about a child standing up to her fears. In the final spread, the little girl is asleep in bed, and seemingly all is well. That is, until readers turn to the last page, where the menacing shadow is seen, eyes aglow as in a Halloween mask, hiding under the bed. The menace remains present, and readers are left fearing for the girl's safety. The dark intensity of the art and the unresolved ending make this a book for children old enough to understand that this story is not to be taken literally. This is a great example of mood in a picture book, but it is not for storytime. Joanna Harrison's Dear Bear (Carolrhoda, 1994), Ed Emberley's Go Away, Big Green Monster (Little, Brown, 1992), and Judith Mathews's Nathaniel Willy, Scared Silly (S & S, 1994) are lighter looks at conquering fears.--Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA[Page 122]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.