Hello friends! Our book today is Hortense And The Shadow by Natalia & Lauren O’Hara, a dark and strange yet wonderfully exciting fairytale.
Hortense is a quiet young girl who seemingly lives alone, in a large house in the middle of the silent snowy woods. Hortense is kind and brave, but there is one thing that never fails to leave her irritated: her shadow. It’s always following her and always copying what she does. At dusk, it becomes long and crooked. It makes her sad, angry even. Hortense hates her shadow, and when it trips her up going down the garden stair, she thinks that shadow must hate her too. One day, she is able to cut off the shadow with a window, leaving it alone outside while she finally feels free without it. But just as she is celebrating her victory, she is set upon by a dangerous gang of bandits. Hortense is terrified, but she will find a rather unexpected protector in the very shadow she once scorned.
An odd and eerie fable with a whimsical, uplifting ending! This one was definitely different: the story is set up like a folk tale, using language that is filled with simile and quirk yet flows beautifully. The art is somehow both dark yet colorful, using a palette of dark blues, muted yellows and, of course, shadowy blacks and grays that creates an environment and characters that range from delicately sweet to uncomfortably sinister. The details are especially captivating: enjoy spotting the bandits deftly hidden in the trees and gardens as they survey Hortense and her home. The length was good, and JJ seemed fascinated by the art. I’m not quite sure I understood the message, if there was one – but I have to admit, this one was so unique and interesting that we couldn’t help but enjoy it. Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)