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Skuggsidan Per Gustavsson, Skuggsidan (Shadowside)

Natur och Kultur,  2013.

Reviewed by Charlotte Berry in SBR 2013:2

Review Section: Fiction for Children and Young People

Reviewed with Jöns Mellgren's Sigrid och Natten

These two titles share a common theme of current Swedish picture books: coming to terms with fear of shadows and the dark. Aimed at young children (3-6 years) and illustrated in rich swathes of violets, purples and blues, both books ultimately offer resolution and comfort.

Skuggsidan follows the journey of Ragnar, a little boy who is afraid of the dark but who conquers his anxieties with the help of a magic pen. First, he draws his way around his garden in the safety of the daylight and creates two companions: a bird and a cat. Then he enters a silent and forbidding wood in which he finds a dark house full of terrors. But, with his pen, he draws eyes and a mouth for the cat, and a beak for the bird, who encourage him to sketch out windows and a door through which he escapes back into his own bedroom. Ragnar is no longer afraid of the dark.

Sigrid och natten is told from the viewpoint of old Sigrid, who has not slept for thirty years. She has trapped Night in a biscuit tin that is kept in the cellar and then watches from her balcony in bewilderment as the world collapses around her. Owls and bats come out in broad daylight and cars crash. Once released from captivity, Night learns that Sigrid became afraid of the dark following the death of Olaf, who had rescued her from stormy seas and become her friend. Happily, Night resumes his rightful role and restores order, pacing through the streets and returning all to their beds and a good night’s sleep. Including Sigrid. 

Other reviews by Charlotte Berry

Other reviews in SBR 2013:2

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