Drawing inspiration from the very illustrative poem My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson, author Julia E. Antoine writes the eleventh and final installment in the Too Clever series.
Twelve year old Susan, who is on the brink of adolescence, hates being called Peter’s shadow. At the rate at which Susan is growing, it seems as if she’ll never catch up in height to her brother Peter and his friends. However, when she looks at her shadow, it seems to be as tall as Peter’s! As a result of this, Susan wants to get to the bottom of the puzzling mystery of the height of the shadow.
The book highlights Susan’s desire which is to appear as a real adolescent in the eyes of her brother and his friends. In an underlying tone, the book further highlights the struggle pre-teens face as they are caught between two worlds – the world of childhood and the world of adolescence. We can see this in Susan’s refusal to play with her best friend Marcie and her dolls, and her need to fit in with Peter and his friends. Hence, the struggle Susan faces is fostered in her curiosity to understand how the shadow works. Believing that her shadow seems taller because she had miraculously grown an inch is a subconscious yearning to actually be as tall as her shadow portrays. Her shadow was doing for her what her body had failed to do.
The information she picked up from her research on shadows for her class project casts light on the subject, and she found that the position of the sun determines the length and the size of her shadow. Realizing that in fact the truth lies in the light source and not her body actually growing was a real eye-opening experience for Susan. What she couldn’t make up for in height, she made up for in knowledge. That evening at the dinner table when she spoke about her project, even Peter had to admit he didn’t know the sun’s position determines the height of the shadow. Susan felt taller then.
Susan’s Shadow by Dr. Julia E. Antoine is a fun and lively read, with subtle undertones about pre-teen struggles which can be seen in the constant tug-of-war between childhood innocence and puberty.
This final installment brings to a close the Too Clever series, and as usual, Antoine brings the plot to an end with the warmth of friendship, an underlying thread that runs throughout several stories in the series.
Collect all eleven installments! Visit the author’s website for more details at www.too-clever.com
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