'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.
About the Author
Natalia O'Hara, Natalia and Lauren 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 fairytales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.
This stunning debut from the O'Hara sisters draws on classic fairy stories and fables, along with their Eastern European heritage. It's both classic and contemporary all at once - a picture book to cherish and a duo to watch. * Books with Baby *
A delicious slice of crisp, wintry and gloriously immersive storytelling... Exquisite in every way. You owe it to yourself to pick up this book. * Read it Daddy *
This book is empowering, haunting and wonderfully reminiscent of age-old Russian folk tales... a picture book classic to treasure. * WRD About Books *
Painted in expressive, moody watercolours and beautifully reminiscent of the Polish fairy tales that the author and illustrator listened to as children, Hortense and the Shadow is deeply captivating and atmospheric. The message - that we all have a shadow side, and it's part of us, not to be ignored and denied - is simply and effectively expressed. There's both a real sense of originality and a classic quality here that is impressive for a debut picture book. Ideal for winter bedtime reading for children and grown-ups. * Book Trust *
This contemporary fairytale has the feel of a timeless classic... with a strong female protagonist and an empowering message, this is a book to be read to all of your sons and daughters. * Picture Books Blogger *
Natalia O'Hara's lyrical prose and Lauren's delicate, muted illustrations, sometimes ornate, sometimes stark and looming, together make for a story to have you tingling with delight. Absolutely beautiful. * Red Reading Hub *
Full of the landscapes one both expects and looks forward to in Russian fairytales, Hortense and the Shadow is both elegant and ominous, poetic and dark, and enchanting. * Library Mice *
A beautiful story of identity and self-acceptance... an utterly lovely picture book with an empowering message. * Typewritered *
Hortense hates her shadow - crooked, tall and always there - and tries to ditch it in this hauntingly beautifully illustrated fairy tale. But one night, in the dark woods, bandits come a-calling and Hortense realises she needs her shadow after all. Entirely gorgeous. * The Sunday Express *
A delightful picture book... could be read time and time again, becoming a treasured book. * Splashes Into Books *
Hortense detests the dark shadow that follows her wherever she goes. Until, on a lone walk one night, she comes upon a group of bandits in the woods and her shadow proves an invaluable ally. Stunning illustrations and sparse text combine to create a fascinating, nuanced tone in this tale that touches on themes of fear, friendship, and self-acceptance. * Brightly *
The lilting text and gorgeous spreads of snowy landscapes in pastel shades, with touches of bolder colours, create a magical atmosphere that is perfect for this carefully crafted fairy tale. The story gently touches on themes of self-perception and facing your fears. This is a stunningly beautiful debut picture book from two sisters who first discovered a love of stories and fables through the tales told to them by their Polish grandmother. * Carousel *
It's a classic in the making, real new talent, original, and set in a perfect fairy tale world. What more could you want from a bedtime story? * It's All About Stories *
Had I owned this book as a little girl, I would have read it over and over, looking for hidden details. * From Britain With Love *