Speak up, Spike! ISBN: 9781405200738
Published by Egmont (Go Bananas series), 2002
Spike is surrounded by big, loud people, both at home and at school, and while they are all loving, he finds them difficult to cope with. He is afraid of the dark, specifically of his own shadow, and this fear has turned him into a timid and very quiet little boy. Mrs Pugh ('the biggest teacher in the world, Spike thought')is teaching her class about Divali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, and Spike is pleased that this involves candles and sweets. But when Mrs Pugh produces shadow puppets of Rama, Sita, and Ravana, the monster with ten heads, he is plunged into gloom. However, the process of learning about how shadows are made and that the puppets are only leather after all, helps Spike get used to shadows and takes away some of his fear. In the end, he plays Ravana and shouts out his lines so everyone can hear. This book is particularly useful because Spike is older (year 3) and his fears have been with him a long time. Super illustrations and an easily understood explanation of how shadows are made at the end of the book (along with instructions for making your own puppet) make this ideal for children who find shadows frightening.