First sentence: “If life is a book, then Smoot the Shadow had been reading the same yawn-colored page for seven and a half years.”
Move over, Peter Pan’s shadow! There’s a new shadow that’s breaking free, and his name is Smoot.
The titular Smoot, a shadow, is tired of the awfully dull life his boy leads. Day in and day out, Smoot’s boy lived a quite rigid lifestyle, never breaking his routine of reading the same page in a book, coloring inside drawings, and not doing anything wild. Smoot wants to do more. The art perfectly depicts this—Smoot and his boy are stuck in a box. Every scene shows a wide pan shot, emphasizing the distance from them and what they don’t do like play with the other kids or ride bicycles. Smoot and his boy never step foot out of their self-contained box.
However, when Smoot unsticks from his boy and becomes free, he and the art come alive. Gone are the paleness of the watercolors and the box that had contained Smoot for seven years. In its place, readers will get splashes of vibrant watercolors, close-up of the children playing jump rope and the buildings that loom overhead and the faces of people who used to have indistinct features, and Smoot literally dashing through and breaking free of the pages. Not only does he do so, other shadows decide to join in on the fun, which causes things to go a little out of hand. It’s wonderful.
Michelle Cuevas and and Sydney Smith did an excellent job creating this wonderful story that emphasizes that we get stuck into the monotonous routine of our lives and that it’s fun to try new things (no matter how scary it is). Kids will love this.