The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
Moving to a new house is a bit daunting for our young narrator. Her mum is busy and tired, and she hasn't made sure that the new house is free of monsters that might lurk behind doors or under the bed. In fact, under the bed is where we find Shadow, a strange creature made of a not-at-all-unpleasant darkness.
Soon, Shadow and the little girl are inseparable. They play together all day long, with their scarves knitted together. Then one night, Shadow leads the girl into the forest and disappears. Left in the dark by herself, the little girl waits until a familiar voice calls her name.
This dark story will appeal to older children who like its atmospheric illustration. While the shadows might unsettle particularly sensitive youngsters, the threat is short-lived. The distracted mother soon redirects her attention to her little girl, and the final spreads show the little family enjoying their new home.
The text suits a more advanced reader because of its subtlety, and the stressed-out mother might be lost on some younger readers. This is a good story to share and talk through together, providing an opportunity to discuss stranger danger, loneliness and anxiety.