Shadowville

Michael Bartalos | Viking 1995 | 36 pages

Some authors write stories then figure out how to draw them. My suspicion is that Michael Bartalos created Shadowville in the opposite fashion. This book is chalk full of bold, flat, graphic silhouettes of wacked people, animals and objects—just like his illustration portfolio! This book pays homage to a graphic illustrator’s two best friends—light and shadow. Michael tells us up front that for about 12 hours a day we are going to see shadows—big black stretched renditions of our full color world. Written in rhyme, his tale reminds us to look at shapes in their purist form and then answers the question we might have pondered—where do shadows go the other 12 hours of the day? Why, they go to Shadowville where they appear to have more fun than they do during their day job. Michael draws with tremendous simplicity but skews the scale and shape of everyday objects to become new and delightful depictions. Passengers in a whale’s mouth, elastic athletes, cat chefs, elephant bathtubs and shaving cacti tickle the eye and the mind. Printed on off white uncoated paper and punctuated with muted and sparing color— though it was created in 1995, this book is timeless. I want to go to shadowville!

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