Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Review Friday -- The Shadows, Volume I of The Books of Elsewhere

Oh, my goodness!  It's that time of week again.  What a busy week it has been, too!  My after school art club has an art show tomorrow, and I've been matting, and affixing artist statements with pictures, and making artist name tags, etc. -- things that always seem like they are going to be quicker work than they are.  But I'm thrilled with their work and plan to take lots of pictures tomorrow to share on a future blog.

Meanwhile, it's review time, and once again I am re-posting a review from Sacramento Book Review of a simply wonderful book, The Shadows.  This is Volume I in a series called The Books of Elsewhere, and I was so absorbed in the fantastical world Jacqueline West created, that I can hardly wait for Volume II.

The Shadows: The Books of Elsewhere: Volume 1

Dial Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 241 pages
Olive Dunwoody’s mathematician parents are in an abstract world of their own. They don’t notice – as Olive does – that the old house they’ve moved in is creepy. Olive feels as if something in the house is watching her. One night, a large orange cat comes into her bedroom and begins to talk. In one of the paintings, Olive can see a distant figure running back and forth. Putting on a pair of spectacles she found in a dresser drawer, she sees the paintings come alive, and she can enter them. In one, she meets a frightened little boy and begins to learn of the house’s history.  Before long, Olive too, is running for her life.
I found The Shadows mesmerizing, partly due to the story itself; partly due to Jacqueline West’s remarkable writing. This is a tale of terror that makes you laugh. West’s imagery captures plot, setting and character in a simple turn of phrase. Olive’s quirky personality makes her a protagonist one can only look forward to meeting again in following books. Poly Berntene’s illustrations capture the house’s musty gloom and danger as well as Olive’s winsome spirit. A brilliant book all around.


The Crypto-Capers Series said...

I have reviewed this book as well. It is definetly a good story. Thank you so much for commenting on my reviews. I appreciate it. Keep up the good work.

Tanya Reimer said...

I'm recommending this one to my daughter, since there in NOTHING left to read. Can you imagine the horror?

Rosi said...

Wow! This sounds really good. My list gets longer.

Carrie said...

This sounds great! Thanks for another wonderful review.

Michelle Fayard said...

This sounds excellent! Your review made me think about one of my favorite authors when I was growing up, Mary Downing Hahn.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Renee, what fun to realize we reviewed the same book!
Tanya, your daughter will like it! It's spooky -- and funny.
Rosi, ditto. Isn't it fun to know about good books out there?
Carrie, it is. Glad you like the review.
Michelle, Ahhh. I love Mary Downing Hahn books. I think I read all of them.