RainShadow


Children - Mythology/Fairy Tale
46 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

RainShadow by Candice Gartzke is a fantasy picture book that revolves around the isolated life of mythical creatures in the rainforest. RainShadow is the combining of names that belong to two of the story's characters. Rain is an elemental spirit who is able to harness the power of the weather, with climate dictated by her will and, less pleasantly, through her emotions. Shadow is a shapeshifter that moves between his physical forms of a two-legged being like Rain, and his sleek, stealthy panther existence. The pair grow to love and depend on each other, separated only when the outside influence of human greed and consumption forces Shadow into a danger that only the perseverance of love and connection can fuel...something only Rain possesses.

RainShadow is a unique story in a long-established genre, and Candice Gartzke does well in the way she whispers a bit of new life into a place where only very old tales exist. The illustrations are a mix of sketch and paint-styled artwork that take on the appearance of earthy pan tones layered in gradients on top of a watercolor wash. Rain and Shadow are ethnically ambiguous, which is important to me with young readers in our diverse household. In a nod to how far storytelling has come, it was refreshing to read about a female rescuing a male. This is the standout theme of this book for me. The narrative is likely to be considered a bit on the mature side, particularly where it unapologetically introduces violence and entrapment, but again, Rain pushing forward to save her “protector” gave the book a strong leg up. Recommended.

Kristy Volchko

RainShadow by Candice Gartzke is a magical tale about Rain, the daughter of King Black and Queen Mira. Rain had magical abilities that enabled her to influence the weather with her mood, and when Rain was happy, she supplied the land with all the rain it needed to remain lush and plentiful. All Rain’s life she had a loving panther protector named Shadow. Not only did he make Rain feel protected and happy, he too had amazing abilities that allowed him to transform himself from panther to human, human to panther, depending on certain conditions. When Shadow decides to propose to Rain and declare that he’d like to spend the rest of his life with her, he goes out into the world in search of the perfect token of his love…a sparkling diamond ring! On this special journey, he meets someone named ‘Trapper’ and things take a turn that could mean the end of Rain’s happiness, their future together, and Shadow’s very life!

Candice Gartzke’s RainShadow takes us from the pages to the jungle in this mystical, descriptive, beautiful story. A tale of love…as old as time and always a favorite to read. The story itself is captivating and imaginative but the unique illustrations bring the story even further to life and drew me in immediately. Rain and Shadow are delightfully rich in character and full of love and magic. Just the kind of characters we all root for! I truly enjoyed reading RainShadow and recommend this well-written fairytale to people of all ages. I couldn’t wait to see what happened in the end!

Kristine Zimmerman

Rainshadow has the feel of an old folktale although it was just recently written by Candice Gartzke. The story begins in the rainforest where a king and a queen have a beautiful baby girl named Rain. Rain grows up protected by panthers, one of which is Shadow. Shadow can change forms from human to panther, except when he is in the light, then he is stuck as a panther. One night, Shadow decides to leave the rainforest to get a diamond ring to give to Rain. Unfortunately, he gets tricked by a man named Trapper and is trapped in his panther form. In the morning, Rain realizes something is wrong, and with a little help from a magical spiderweb finds Shadow and frees him. Of course, they live happily ever after.

Rainshadow has all the elements of an interesting fairytale with shapeshifting, a villain, magic, and a happy ending. Candice Gartzke has illustrated the story with muted colors that add a vintage look to the book. Fairytales are wonderful for a kid’s imagination. Shadow’s ability to change from human to panther form is intriguing, as is the spiderweb portal, which allows Rain to jump to where Shadow is being held captive. Another fascinating element is Rain’s ability to control the weather with her emotions. Rainshadow will stretch kids’ imaginations and take them away to a magical world where the unexpected can and does happen. Candice Gartzke has crafted a modern fairytale, perfect for sharing with kids who believe that magic exists.