This is a subtle story about an elephant who is feeling sorrowful, and nothing seems to interest him or lift his spirits. Illustrated with a striking contrast between shadow and light, the moody blue elephant appears to live in a different world from his colorful savanna friends. Empathy is a tricky emotion for children and adults alike to grasp, but The Shadow Elephant manages to walk the line between sadness, understanding, and emotional connection. Here we witness, in a story that unfolds at a natural, gentle pace, that it’s okay to be sad and to show it, and that this sorrow is not necessarily a problem to be fixed, but is a feeling to acknowledge without judgement. This simple act of acceptance and validating another creature's feelings is subtle, yet, it is an essential step to true empathy.
It is a human impulse, this urge to shoo the sadness away. It is also dehumanizing, for only when we let the blues rush in with their full intensity do we become fully alive and awake to the dazzling spectrum of feeling that makes life worth living. That is what Canadian author Nadine Robert and Italian artist Valerio Vidali explore with great subtlety and tenderness in The Shadow Elephant. -Brain Pickings
A deep look at sadness and the power of empathy to overcome it. -Waking Brain Cells
Simple, stylistic art provides the background for this elegantly empathic tale. -Publishers Weekly
The book’s uncluttered compositions with tightly framed perspectives and Vidali’s sure lines and simple shapes reduce the dramatic action to its essentials. The palette, dominated by velvety, richly colored blues, heightens the book’s emotional impact, and the beguiling use of light and shadow establishes a wistful, pensive mood. The story, including its evocative title, can serve as an effective conversation starter on topics such as compassion, melancholy, and what it means to be a friend.
A deeply felt, truly empathetic story about the value of sharing burdens with others. -Kirkus