At the Pond

Groundwood. Mar. 2020. 48p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781773062327.
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.

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