George and His Shadow

tr. from Italian by Debbie Bibo. illus. by Serge Bloch. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062568304.
K-Gr 3—The author and illustrator of The Enemy: A Book About Peace have teamed up again for this gently absurdist picture book translated from the Italian. George, a bespectacled white man in a plaid homburg, wakes one morning to discover that his shadow has come to life and is sitting at the breakfast table. "I was hungry," the shadow explains matter-of-factly. The book follows the classic plot of a grump reluctantly making a friend. First, the shadow plays the genial straight man to frantic George, who makes every effort to get rid of him. Next, George lightens up and the two enjoy each other's company. Finally, the shadow returns to his usual form, leaving George bereft. The last page hints at a sequel, this time with George's reflection in the mirror taking on a life of its own. Bloch's full-bleed digital illustrations resemble ink and collage and feature spare lines with some patches of color. The sketchy lines and exaggerated proportions are reminiscent of cartoons by James Thurber and Jules Feiffer and may appeal most to sophisticated young readers (or their parents). Scooter, George's expressive little dog, adds interest to the pages.
VERDICT A whimsical but slight bit of silliness, this is an additional purchase for larger libraries.

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