Review Blog

Oct 21 2015

Shadowcat by Julia Louise

cover image

Ill. by Anne Ryan. Five Mile Press, 2015. ISBN 9781760067090
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Bravery, Dreams, Siblings. Edith often sits in the garden alone, avoiding her baby brother. She feels she is turning into a garden gnome, sitting there quietly, without moving, allowing the grass to grow around her. But one day a cat comes by and asks her why she is doing what she is doing. He inquires why she doesn't dream, and Edith, surprised asks him how he knows. He tells her that cats can see when people dream as stardust forms around them. He takes her hand and together they walk into the overgrown garden and he teaches her to dance. Each night she dances and stardust forms around her as she dreams. She dances in the garden taking her brother's hand in hers. But one night the cat does not come back, and she begins to feel a bit gnomish, until she finally sees him through her window and he tells her to dream alone, to be brave as the stars are always with her.
This is a charming story of daring to dream, of being brave, as Edith becomes introverted when a baby appears in the household, losing her place within the family. The stylised acrylic illustrations show the young girl sitting quietly in the garden, amongst the gnomes. The shadows of the trees make the garden look ominous, but the night sky becomes warm and encompassing as she dances with the cat.
A wonderful addition to the range of stories about the arrival of a new baby in the household and learning to be resilient.
Fran Knight

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