In the double-page spread immediately following the endpapers, the gazes of readers shift from a cityscape to a pale girl peering out of a skyscraper.
Her story unfolds in wordless double-page spreads rendered in pen, colored pencil, acrylics, and collage. Initially the palette—including skin tone—is limited to dull blues, grays, creams, tans, and oranges. This lends a somewhat surreal effect to the sidewalk crowd, most of whom are distracted with screens or headphones. As the child steps outside, her blue clothing becomes brighter, and a related shade seems to be seeping from wall to pavement. She spies a book with a blue horse on the cover and picks it up, smiling. Back in her drab room, the animal leaps off the page into the sky, scattering a rainbow of torn paper shapes across the pages. As the horse races, an exciting explosion of colorful contours suggesting flowers and butterflies becomes ever more abstract until it becomes a fusion of forms. From these the horse and rider emerge. The final sequences return readers to her room, now transformed. This will be a fresh narrative experience for those who rely on text or realism to guide meaning. It is well worth turning back to grapple with potential intent.
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. (Picture book. 3-6)