At the Pond

Geraldo Valerio. Groundwood, $19.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-77306-232-7
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.)
Reviewed on : 01/30/2020
Release date: 03/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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