At the Pond
At the Pond

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Annotation: Geraldo Valério looks at the nature of true friendship and love in a stunning new wordless picture book.
Catalog Number: #215092
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-7730-6232-8 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7962-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-7730-6232-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7962-3
Dewey: E
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
This wordless story begins in a cottage in the dark woods, where a little white dog sporting a yellow leash waits to take a walk with a child. As they walk, they see a beautiful blue pond replete with a flock of swimming birds. One swan invites the boy and his dog to climb on its back for a ride. More colors emerge as bright pink flamingos populate the grassy edge, and orange foxes, yellow rabbits, brown deer, and dazzling flowers appear. It's time to take off the dog's collar so it can chase the butterflies. But when the boy attaches the leash to the swan, the colors begin to fade back to blacks and grays. The teary-eyed boy realizes he must release it and wave goodbye as the birds fly away. Full-bleed double-page complex illustrations move the story from monotones to brilliant colors, creating a magical world of joy. It's a clever way to allow readers to interpret meaning for themselves and to appreciate the beauty in the natural world.
Horn Book
In this wordless story of a boy and his dog, Valerio (Blue Rider, rev. 7/18) uses a fantastical nature walk to explore the old adage "if you love someone, let them go." Leaving their small cottage, the boy and his pet set off through a monochromatic, graphite pencil-rendered forest. The enigmatic hint of cobalt blue that appears on their foreheads seeps down into the world at the page-turn, becoming a large pond filled with floating swans. Leaving the gray shoreline behind, boy and dog sail atop a swan into a landscape bursting with bright color. Flamingos, deer, rabbits, and foxes scamper among the sun-soaked flowers on the banks of the pond in an idyllic scene. After a canary-yellow butterfly catches the attention of the dog, the boy unfastens his pet's leash and collar and transfers them to the swan's neck. Immediately, the brightly colored illustrations (created with colored pencils, markers, and paint) revert to grays and blacks, and the once-tranquil pond is now tumultuous as the swan strains under its new confinement. Recognizing the swan's sorrow and his own mistake, the boy takes off the leash and drops it in the water. The pond world is once more inundated with dazzling color, signaling new understandings, tender forgiveness, and the joy that accompanies freedom.
Publishers Weekly
Valerio (Friends) opens this wordless book with a bleak scene rendered in brown and gray. A tiny house sits in a grayscale forest; a dog is tied up outside, its bright yellow collar and chain the only spots of color. When a round-headed boy, also in gray, emerges to walk the dog, the sky suddenly shimmers with shades of bright blue, and the landscape around them transforms into a tropical-colored fantasyland overflowing with friendly dragonflies, rabbits, foxes, deer, and swans. One swan beckons the boy and dog to climb on its back, but when the child removes the hound-s yellow collar and puts it on the swan, the scene turns dark and stormy, and the other birds flee, the interspecies bonding breached. The boy apologizes, ditches the collar, and the world is colorful and bright again. It-s possible to be both intrigued by the ambiguous story and confused by its narrative murkiness, but with a little nudging, it may spark discussion about people-s complex relationships with pets and with animals in the natural world. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
PreS-K On a drab, gray day, a little boy places his dog on a leash and they venture out for a walk in the woods. After a short time, a shock of blue draws their attention, and the two come upon a beautiful azure pond filled with white swans. One of the swans invites them for a ride, and they travel together from their monochromatic world into one of vibrant colors. Forest friends of all kinds come to the edge of the pond to interact with them, vivid flowers and butterflies cover the landscape, and the little boy soon releases the dog from his chain to play on the shore. When the little boy goes to place the leash around the swan's neck instead, everything changes, causing the boy to question the world he thought he knew. Young children will love the accessibility of this wordless picture book. Though this is a simple story at first glance, its themes run deep, and readers will carefully consider the restrictions in their own lives and how they connect to friendship and love. Each image is richly decorated. The glossy pages and emotive characters draw readers in, inviting dialogue between young children and their caregivers. VERDICT This is an important story for readers of all ages to reflect on love and what is required to earn and keep it. Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver Public Library
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal Starred Review (3/1/20)
ALA Booklist (1/1/20)
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: WL
Interest Level: P-K

On a dull gray day, a boy puts his dog on a leash and they walk to a shimmering pond where snowy white swans swim freely. One of the swans invites the boy and dog for a ride. They climb on its back and sail into a stunningly beautiful landscape, dotted with wildflowers, spoonbills and ibises. Foxes, rabbits and deer appear in this paradise, then butterflies and even bigger, more beautiful flowers. The boy unleashes his dog on shore, and the dog bounds off to play. Now the boy wraps his arms around the swan's neck -- he has a new friend. But when he puts the leash on the swan, the sky turns stormy gray, the water becomes turbulent, and the other swans fly away. Both the boy and swan are miserable, until the boy realizes he must free his friend. When he drops the leash into the pond, warm color fills their world and they return to where the boy's dog happily awaits him. Geraldo Valério, a master of wordless picture books, explores the nature of true friendship and love in his newest creation.


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