Summer is coming to an end while school days, a Southern California fall (that means just hot wind), and Halloween begin creeping back into every child’s and parent’s psyche. What better way to end a summer and head into the fall than with Jacqueline West’s book, The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The Shadows features a young girl named Olive. When Olive’s family move into their newly bought home she starts noticing strange shadows that move across the paintings. Her parents, who are quite mathematical in every aspect, accuse her of having an over-active imagination. Olive explores the old home, which still contains all of the previous owners belongings (the paintings included). Eventually, Olive discovers a pair of spectacles that allow her to travel into the paintings! Morton, a boy from one of the paintings, tries to convince Olive that he is a real person and not part of the painting. Her mission in the story is to discover the truth behind the house, the paintings, and the three talking cats.
Jacqueline West marries the mystery and the ghost story perfectly in The Shadows without it being too scary for younger readers. The book includes awesome illustrations, by Poly Bernatene, which help to entice the more reluctant readers and contribute to the overall story.
Age Group: 8 and up
Genre: Middle Grade Reader
Themes: Haunting, Fantasy, Magic, Ghost Stories
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, imprint of Penguin Group