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Gregory's Shadow

Gregory's Shadow

5.0 1
by Don Freeman

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Gregory is a shy groundhog, and having his friend Shadow close by makes him feel brave. But one day Gregory and Shadow go outside to look for food, and they get separated. Scared and lonely, they search and search for one another. To make matters worse, tomorrow is Groundhog Day, and everyone will be waiting to see if Gregory and his shadow leave their home together.


Gregory is a shy groundhog, and having his friend Shadow close by makes him feel brave. But one day Gregory and Shadow go outside to look for food, and they get separated. Scared and lonely, they search and search for one another. To make matters worse, tomorrow is Groundhog Day, and everyone will be waiting to see if Gregory and his shadow leave their home together. Will the two friends find each other in time for Groundhog Day?

"Freeman's adorable, loosely sketched illustrations are colored in a palette of blues for the snowscapes and earth tones for the underground scenes. The simple story line is just right for preschoolers." (Booklist)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In what PW called an "ingenious tale" by the creator of Corduroy (posthumously published), a groundhog always feels braver when his best pal, his shadow, accompanies him, but the two inadvertently become separated. Ages 2-6. (Nov.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Posthumously published, this ingenuous tale by the creator of Corduroy introduces another endearing, though not likely as enduring, animal character. Gregory Groundhog always feels braver when his best pal, his shadow, accompanies him. On the day before Groundhog Day, Gregory suggests that he and Shadow go find something to eat. "Sure... I'm right behind you," quips his amorphous companion, whom Gregory inadvertently leaves outdoors when he returns to his burrow. After the two are reunited, the groundhog faces another dilemma: He doesn't want to be separated from his friend again, yet he knows that his appearance with his shadow on the following morning will make the local farmers unhappy, since this augurs six more weeks of winter. Not surprisingly, Gregory devises a simple solution to this quandary that pleases all involved. Less engaging than Freeman's light yet satisfying narrative are his wispy, sketchy pictures--a number of which seem unfinished. Still, the whimsical notion of a groundhog's all-important shadow taking on a life of its own will pique readers' imaginations, and the antics of these two earnest buddies will bring smiles to young faces. Ages 2-6. (Dec.) FYI: A portion of the author royalties from this title will go to the Don and Lydia Freeman Research Fund to support psychological research concerning children afflicted with cancer. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Gregory Groundhog and his shadow are good friends. They feel safe when they are together. But one day, Gregory is terrified by something and rushes home. His shadow is left behind. The next day is Groundhog Day when they must have the opportunity to appear together. Each must overcome his fears and search for the other because that's what good friends do. Gregory and his shadow are reunited just in time for their big moment. But Gregory doesn't need his shadow because he knows winter is over. Farmers treat Gregory to a feast when he announces the end of winter. But he hasn't left his shadow behind again. The two stick so close together that the farmers can't see the Groundhog sharing this day with his best friend. Text and art for this book were completed before the author's death in 1978. Soft, simple illustrations dominated by blues and browns lend warmth to the shadow's persona and the sweetness in Gregory's face. 2000, Viking/Penguin Putnam, $15.99. Ages 2 to 6. Reviewer: Chris Gill
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-This is an unabridged recording of the posthumously published work by Don Freeman (Viking, 2000), author of the popular Corduroy titles and other well-known picture books. In this story, shy Gregory Groundhog and his friend Shadow have become separated on the eve of Groundhog Day. Scared and lonely, Gregory searches for Shadow so that they can be reunited in time for Gregory's appearance at the Groundhog Day celebration. When the two find each other at last, they don't want to be separated again, but Gregory knows that the farmers will be unhappy if Gregory and his shadow both appear on Groundhog Day. So, Gregory comes up with a clever solution. Narrator Jim Weiss gives a superb reading of this story and effectively conveys the emotions of Gregory, which many young children will be able to relate to. Weiss's use of different voices for Gregory, Shadow, and the other characters is well done. The recording also contains original music and sound effects that enhance the story. One side of the cassette has page-turning signals which are sometimes difficult to hear, while the other side contains an uninterrupted reading. A worthwhile purchase for school and public libraries.-Shauna Yusko, King County Library System, Bellevue, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Freeman's talents in Corduroy (1968) earned his beloved bear a permanent place on the shelf of favorite storytime characters. Prior to his death in 1978, Freeman had completed work on a final picture book with another shy, charming main character, Gregory the groundhog. Gregory's best friend (and constant companion, of course) is Shadow, an anthropomorphic apparition in blue who sticks close to Gregory and helps him feel brave enough to face the terrors of the world. When Gregory is frightened by the looming shadow of a scarecrow, the little groundhog runs home lickety-split, leaving his shadow behind in the snow. Gregory searches for Shadow, and Shadow searches for Gregory, with a humorous reunion in a spooky old barn, where Gregory is sure that Shadow is a scary blue ghost. They return home just in time for Groundhog Day and devise a plan to please the local farmers who are waiting to see if they must suffer through six more weeks of winter. (Shadow sticks so close to Gregory that his shadowy blue outline can't be seen.) The story is slight but still satisfying, with a clear explanation of Groundhog Day on the first page that will work well in elementary classrooms or library story-hours. Shadows are often studied in the early grades as part of science lessons on light, so Gregory's story will be useful as related literature in that context as well as a read-aloud in late January and early February. There aren't many successful picture books about either Groundhog Day or shadows in general, so larger public- and school-library collections will want to give Gregory (and Shadow) a home next to Corduroy, Dandelion, and Beady Bear. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Picture Puffins
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 9.38(h) x 0.13(d)
AD180L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California, in 1908. At an early age, he received a trumpet as a gift from his father. He practiced obsessively and eventually joined a California dance band. After graduating from high school, he ventured to New York City to study art under the tutelage of Joan Sloan and Harry Wickey at the Art Students' League. He managed to support himself throughout his schooling by playing his trumpet evenings, in nightclubs and at weddings.

Gradually, he eased into making a living sketching impressions of Broadway shows for The New York Times and The Herald Tribune. This shift was helped along, in no small part, by a rather heartbreaking incident: he lost his trumpet. One evening, he was so engrossed in sketching people on the subway, he simply forgot it was sitting on the seat beside him. This new career turned out to be a near-perfect fit for Don, though, as he had always loved the theater.

He was introduced to the world of children’s literature when William Saroyan asked him to illustrate several books. Soon after, he began to write and illustrate his own books, a career he settled into comfortably and happily. Through his writing, he was able to create his own theater: "I love the flow of turning the pages, the suspense of what's next. Ideas just come at me and after me. It's all so natural. I work all the time, long into the night, and it's such a pleasure. I don't know when the time ends. I've never been happier in my life!"

Don died in 1978, after a long and successful career. He created many beloved characters in his lifetime, perhaps the most beloved among them a stuffed, overall-wearing bear named Corduroy.

Don Freeman was the author and illustrator of many popular books for children, including Corduroy, A Pocket for Corduroy, and the Caldecott Honor Book Fly High, Fly Low.

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Gregory's Shadow 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gregory's Shadow is a sweet book for Ground Hog Day. My great niece's second grade class now has a copy for the classroom library and even though Ground Hog Day is over for this year the children are still enjoying the book.