At the Pond

At the Pond

Written by: Valério, Geraldo
Illustrated by: Valério, Geraldo
ages 3 to 7 / grades P to 2

Geraldo Valério looks at the nature of true friendship and love in a stunning new wordless picture book.

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.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Geraldo Valério looks at the nature of true friendship and love in a stunning new wordless picture book.

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.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd - Mar 1, 2020
Specifications 48 pages | 9 in x 11 in

Praise for Geraldo Valério and At the Pond:

Honourable Mention, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award, 2020

New York Public Library Best Books for Kids, 2020

A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year 2021

Booklist Top 10 Wordless Picture Books of the Year, 2019


“[A]n important story for readers of all ages to reflect on love and what is required to earn and keep it.” — School Library Journal, starred review

“A provocative drama inviting readers to question their own behaviors toward all of the creatures in their orbits.” — Kirkus, starred review

“Full-bleed double-page complex illustrations move the story from monotones to brilliant colors, creating a magical world of joy.” — Booklist

“[Geraldo] deftly explores the nature of true friendship and love in his newest creation with a beautifully presented story that will be enjoyed by children ages 3-7 and will be considered a unique and prized addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.” — Midwest Book Review

“[At the Pond] can be used to foster imagination and to teach about respect for the natural environment as well as domesticated pets.” — CM Review of Materials

“[A] poignant and timely story.” — The Globe and Mail

“Valério has devised a visual narrative around the leash that can function as an accessible metaphor for the destructive role of humans in the natural world, but it also raises much bigger philosophical questions in a child-friendly way.” — Quill & Quire

“[A] wordless masterpiece about the intersection of empathy and nature.” — Let’s Talk Picture Books blog


Praise for Geraldo Valério and Friends:

“Gentle humor and a sense of wonder pervade this joyful aquatic fantasy.” — Kirkus, starred review


Praise for Geraldo Valério and Blue Rider:

“Valério excels at conveying the pure joy of color and form and, not incidentally, the ability of art and books to lift us up and away.” — Kirkus, starred review

“It’s a dazzling vision of the way art transcends the everyday.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A sumptuous wordless tale …. From the start, the use of color is so sophisticated you can almost hear it …” — New York Times

Audience ages 3 to 7 / grades P to 2
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3