Hortense and the Shadow

Publisher: Puffin

Hortense hates her shadow. As much as she tries to elude it, it’s always there: dark and jagged, copying whatever she does. She tries to hide it – under an ottoman, in a hole – but it won’t leave her alone. Finally, she traps it in a window and cuts it off! But one day, when bandits come to the house, Hortense finds that it’s the shadow that saves her family.

Painted in expressive, moody watercolours and beautifully reminiscent of the Polish fairy tales that the author and illustrator listened to as children, Hortense and the Shadow is deeply captivating and atmospheric. The message – that we all have a shadow side, and it’s part of us, not to be ignored and denied – is simply and effectively expressed. There’s both a real sense of originality and a classic quality here that is impressive for a debut picture book. Ideal for winter bedtime reading for children and grown-ups.

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