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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Blue Rider, by Geraldo Valerio. Groundwood Books, 2018. $19,95 all ages

"A high rise apartment.

A young girl in blue.

A busy city street.

A book.

Bedtime magic."

Here's another outstanding book to add to your growing list of wordless books. They can be such powerful conversation starters, and offer kids learning a new language a way into stories that ring true for all readers. In his new book, Geraldo Valerio engages the imagination of children, while also speaking to the magic that is art.

Opening pages show a somewhat drab urban landscape ... tall, towering buildings, a many-windowed apartment building showing only one young girl looking out, crowded streets and then, that girl in bright blue with a matching backpack as she exits her home. Almost every eye at the turn of the page reacts with awe to a book on the ground in front of her. She picks it up; her quick action changes everything. Off she goes, leaving others to pay attention to their phones, their routines, walking their pets.

Once home, the girl settles for a closer look. Her imagination soars as she envisions the fine blue horse from the cover fly out over the urban landscape, transforming her city into a burst of brilliance  that transforms each ensuing spread. Their magical ride ends with her arms wrapped around the book, a satisfied smile on her slumbering face. One final look shows the walls of her once-drab bedroom completely changed to reflect the pinks, blues, yellows, oranges and greens of her imagined journey.

The art is abstract, and inspired by 'the German Expressionist group known as Der Blaue Reiter, which formed in Munich in 1911 and included Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky.' This is a gorgeous homage to the visual arts and the joy brought through color and motion, and an interest in  artistic expression.

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