Monday, October 19, 2020

Review - At the Pond

At the Pond

by Geraldo Valério
Date: 2020
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 48
Format: e-book
Source: library

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.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I enjoy wordless picture books when they're done well. I'm not sure what it was about this one, though, that made me not enjoy it that much. I get the story. It would be fun to sit down with a kid and have them narrate the story to you. But... something just didn't excite me here. Maybe it's the illustrations. They're colourful and engaging, but they're also kind of rough. I guess that's just not my preferred style.

This is a fantasy story, with a message about letting wild things remain free. It's not bad; it's just not my cup of tea.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: n/a
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.4 out of 5

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