Book Review: Hortense and the Shadow

by Natalia O’Hara & Lauren O’Hara

I seldom read children’s literature these days, but I made an exception for this exquisitely illustrated book about a young girl who hates her shadow.

Sisters Lauren and Natalia O’Hara, from the north of England, have created a magical allegory with an old world feel. As youngsters they were excited by fairy tales and animal fables, and loved listening to their Polish grandmother tell stories on cold winter nights – and there is a palpable Eastern European look and wisdom to the spare narrative and snowy landscapes.

“Through the dark and wolfish woods, through the white and silent snow, lived a small girl called Hortense. Though kind and brave, she was sad as an owl because of one thing . . . Hortense hated her shadow.”

A delightful Christmas gift for a young person with a lively imagination.

Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children’s Puffin for supplying a copy of this title for review.
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