Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow by Michelle Cuevas and Sydney Smith is a striking picture book - both for the fresh story Cuevas tells and Smith's bold watercolor and pen and ink illustrations. Together, Cuevas and Smith have created a picture book that is a joy to read - over and over - and one that will linger in your thoughts long after you have closed the covers.
Cuevas begins Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow, "If life is a book, then Smoot the Shadow had been reading the same yawn-colored page for seven and a half years. And much like two pages in a book, or two ripples in a brook, Smoot and his boy were inseparable." Evoking a tidy, if dull life, Cuevas's words are rich with imagery. The thick, black likes of Smith's illustrations, especially on the boy, give a heaviness to the page while the white spaces make Smoot and the other shadows in this book pop.
One day, "while wishing for sky-blue colored freedom, Smoot heard a pop! He had come unstuck from the boy!" Smoot explores the city and the other shadows take notice - and follow his brave choice. Soon, shadows of all kinds of things, from a dandelion to a rock to a frog are exploring bigger possibilities and almost, but not quite, getting out of hand. Smoot notices and begins to set his world right while also keeping the spirit of freedom, adventure and courageousness alive. In the end, Smoot reunites with his boy, who has been watching him all along, and the pages of the book of their lives are now filled with, "singing ringing flying vibrant dancing color." Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow will leave readers feeling equally buoyant and joyous.
More about Sydney Smith:
I was so taken with Sydney Smith's illustrations that I spent more time poring over his work and process. Smith is the illustrator of the moving, multi-award winning Sidewalk Flowers, a wordless picture book about a child's experience with death by JonArno Lawson. For a look at another side of Smith's style, this clip of him at work is so cool to watch!
Source: Review Copy