Geraldo Valério’s At the Pond

h1 February 27th, 2020 by jules


How about this beautiful cover? (You can click on it to see a larger version.)

I promise not to go on and on (and on) about the picture book I’m featuring today. It’s a wordless book, and if you can manage to find a copy, it’s best you experience it for yourself anyway. It’s from Geraldo Valério, born in Brazil and now living in Toronto. At the Pond (Groundwood) is a visual feast, as you can see from the three spreads below; find the nearest preschooler and make their day with this one. It should be on shelves next week.

Quick plot summary: It’s the greyest of days outside, and a boy and his dog head out for a walk. The dog’s none too happy about being restricted in the form of a leash. Suddenly, the very trees above their heads fill with a vivid blue. On the next spread, the boy and his pet see a pond filled with brilliant-white swans. When one of them invites the boy and dog to hop on for a ride, their world explodes in color; various creatures greet them by the water; and beautiful flowers appear. The boy removes the dog’s leash, and he runs off to play. When the boy puts the leash on the swan, the grey returns, the colors and creatures disappear, and the swan is visibly upset. The boy makes a decision about releasing the leash and dropping it into the water (pictured below), and once again their world tranforms.

Valério does so much here with color and scale, as readers are immersed into this world. It’s a simple but powerful tale about friendship and freedom and control and the wild (and our wild natures). If you fell in love with Valério’s Blue Rider (2018) and Turn on the Night (2016), as I did, you’ll definitely want to find a copy of this one. Both of those are also from Groundwood; I’m grateful they are bringing Valério’s books to readers. (The ones I mentioned are but two of many he’s done.)

Here are a few spreads so that the art can do the talking. …


(Click to enlarge)


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AT THE POND. Copyright © 2020 by Geraldo Valério. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Groundwood Books, Toronto.

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