Hortense and the Shadow by Natalia & Lauren O’Hara REVIEW COPY


“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 beautifully illustrated dark fairy tale that will remind you of the fables you read as a child. A treasure not to be missed.

Hortense hated her shadow. Everywhere she went, it went. Everything she did, it did. And every time night fell it grew, tall and dark and crooked.

So, Hortense decided: the shadow must go! Only later, alone in the wolfish woods, she learned that a girl without a shadow is far smaller… a fairy tale about light and shadows. 

Lauren and Natalia O’Hara are two sisters from the north of England. In the daytime, they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairy tales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. This is their first picture book.


[Through the dark and wolfish woods, through the white and silent snow, lived a small girl called Hortense]


(Puffin, 5 October 2017, ebook, copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)




I really loved this picture book.

I loved the illustrations. They were nice and colourful and perfectly fitted the winter setting with different shades of blue and black. They carried the story brilliantly.

Hortense and the Shadow contained just the right amount of text, minimal.

I liked the story, not to childish but not so challenging that it couldn’t be enjoyed by very young children. The balance was perfect.

Hortense and the Shadow is the perfect picture book to read during the winter, cuddled up with your children.



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