by, Mary E. Merlo
Sanjay enjoyed throwing a ball against the side of the house on this sunny day. He and his sister were outside with Mom. She wanted to plant flowers.
“Will you please play with Rena while I work, Sanjay.”
“Mom…” he resisted. He didn’t want to stop what he was doing.
“Just a short while. Won’t take long.”
“Alright. Come on, Rena, let’s play. Look at our shadows!” Sanjay shouted.
“Sadow!” Rena repeated.
“Watch! It runs with me, and it will run with you, too.”
Rena toddled about saying, “Sadow run with me.”
“Can you catch your shadow?” Sanjay asked.
Rena tried to catch it, but couldn’t.
Sanjay chased his shadow, too. He knew he’d never catch it, but had fun trying.
Rena plopped to the ground. “I dizzy.”
“Let’s play something else,” Sanjay said. “We’ll change shadow’s shape. Watch.”
“Oooh,” Rena stood up and watched.
“I’ll stand straight and stick my arms out,” Sanjay said. His shadow did, too. “Look! It copies me.” He raised his arms. Shadow did, too.
“Me do it!” Rena imitated Sanjay’s movements.
They tried different poses. Mom watched and said, “Want me to draw the shape of your shadows?”
Rena nodded and clapped her hands.
“Yes!” Sanjay agreed.
Mom found chalk and told them to make their favorite pose. Rena stood very straight. Sanjay bent his arms like a muscle man and spread his legs apart. Mom outlined each shape on the concrete.
“Done!” she said, “Take a look.”
“Me sadow big,” Rena giggled.
Sanjay laughed at his shadow shape. “Did I really look like that?”
“Yup,” Mom answered.
Rena jumped up and down. Shadow jumped, too. She tried stepping on it, but couldn’t. Suddenly, Shadow was gone.
“Where sadow go?” Rena asked.
“It’s clouding up,” Mom said. “You must have the sun for shadows.”
“I know why,” Sanjay said. “We learned it in school. Teacher said that shadows form when an object comes between the sun and the earth.”
“That’s right,” Mom said. “What was between the sun and earth just now?”
“Want sadow back,” Rena began to cry.
Sanjay understood what had just happened when the sun disappeared, but he knew Rena didn’t. She wouldn’t stop crying. He had an idea.
“Mom, let’s go inside. I’ll show Rena how to make hand shadows!”
“That’s a good idea, smarty pants,” Mom said. “C’mon, Rena. We’ll make more shadows.”
Rena stopped crying, and they went inside the house. Mom found the flashlight and led them to a dark bedroom.
“Now, we’ll show you how to make shadows.” She shined the flashlight on the wall. “Tell us again, Sanjay, how to do that.”
“An object must come between the light and the wall.”
“Show Rena what you mean.”
Sanjay closed his hand, raised two fingers and held it in front of the flashlight. A shadow that looked like a rabbit appeared on the wall.
“Wabbit!” Rena laughed. “Me, too, try.”
Mom helped Rena make a fist and pointed her thumb up. Sanjay shined the flashlight on her hand.
“Doggie,” Rena said.
“I’ve got a good one,” Sanjay insisted. “Let me show you.”
He formed a fist with thumb and baby finger extended and held his hand in front of the flashlight. The shadow of a bird appeared on the wall. He wiggled his fingers and made it fly.
They laughed together.
“See, Rena,” Mom said. “Shadows can be both outside and inside. When we are in the yard, the sun is there to make shadows. When we are inside, a flashlight is needed to make hand shadows.”
“Me like sadows,” Rena grinned.
“Good job, Sanjay,” Mom said. “Your inside shadows saved the day.”
She hugged them both.
About the Author
Mary Merlo, an author who resides in Michigan, the “Mitten State,” writes children’s stories, memoir and poetry. Her stories have received awards from the Detroit Working Writers. Her memoir and poetry have both been published.
Much of her work is inspired by the curiosity of her grandchildren. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Poetry Society of Michigan and Detroit Working Writers.
Do you want to learn how to make your own hand shadows? Check out this video by professional puppeteer, Corina Bona.