- Publication date:1 March 2014
- Format:Hardcover, Paperback
- Genre: children's
- Age guide: Younger Readers, 5+
For Chasing Shadows
By Corinne Fenton & Hannah Sommerville
$16.95 – $26.95
Corinne Fenton joins first-time illustrator Hannah Sommerville on an epic journey of discovery.
Everyone feels sad sometimes, but when sadness lingers, shadows appear. Some of us, even children, chase shadows. Will a wriggly, mischievous surprise help Beth chase her shadows away?
Cover designed by Grant Gittus.
ALLISON BORLAND –
Chasing Shadows is a book that involves illustration to tell the story and highlights this through observation. With limited text throughout, that is selectively chosen and descriptively positioned, simple yet enough. A lovely combination of using ‘shadows’ in a conventional way that connection, warmth and understanding is felt consistently throughout this book and supports how a child deals with depression.
Beth a young child who feels sadness and loss struggles to cope. Beth’s father buys a puppy to help ease her pain, however it is all too soon for her. The empathy in the story identifies the ‘shadows’ being the feeling, the warmth, the comfort they create and the memories they bring. As Beth observes the puppy from a distance connections are beginning to form. The sadness evolves and moves to a new level as she connects with the puppy.
The author Corinne Fenton captures your interest in the story extremely well you can feel certainly touched by what Beth is feeling inside. The subtle colours and the whimsical style illustrations used by Hannah Sommerville suit the title of the book very effectively. Each page flows and seeps with carefully created shadow shapes. A story that supports children who may be going through depression and engages the use of a scenario as in this case ‘shadows’ to make connections to the real world. A very well thought out book for young children.
Robyn Donoghue –
Corinne Fenton and Hannah Sommerville’s Chasing Shadows is the kind and honest story of a young girl Beth, who is navigating her way through the shadows of grief after the loss of her mum. It begins with a touching moment, showing a father’s attempt to make his daughter’s path a gentler one by bringing home a puppy. Beth thinks it is too soon, so on the surface his effort appears futile. But grief is deep and complex and Corinne Fenton’s lyrical words and Hannah Sommerville’s soft illustrations allow the reader to tread gently through the theme and discover its many layers.
The dad, dealing with his own grief, knows it is a solitary journey that one can only negotiate alone. He can only watch out for his daughter as she is overwhelmed by sadness and silenced by grief. The puppy provides cathartic relief. Whilst Beth is consumed by shadows, Patch’s exuberance overflows with abundance, drawing Beth out slowly and gently into the sunshine, as only a puppy can.
The text and illustrations are subtly layered, and gain in complexity through multiple readings, opening a doorway into deeper discussions. Corinne Fenton approaches the topic with care but remains honest without being precious, while Hannah Sommerville’s illustrations fill out the details in basic but subtle ways. For instance the identity shift involved when losing a parent can be seen throughout the book as we see Beth focusing on her mother’s necklace and her eventual ownership of it.
This wonderful book would be of great benefit to children coming to terms with the loss of a family member or any other times of great sadness.