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Beyond the Pond Hardcover – October 6, 2015
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Kuefler answers the age-old question, "What lies beneath?" in this tale of transformation and wonder. Ernest D. is a curious boy living in an ordinary house. He is also in need of something fun to do. So one day, he decides to explore the depths of his pond. His unsuccessful attempts to plumb it using a stick, a fishing pole, and a stone lead him to conclude that his pond must be bottomless. Thrilled by this realization, he gathers exploration gear and dives in with his dog. At first, they are met with familiar pond life—fish and frogs—but soon some unexpected discoveries reveal themselves: squid, sharks, and sunken treasures. Eventually, Ernest surfaces into a fantastical world. Here dinosaurs roam the Earth with squirrels, monkeys, and a mouse riding a miniature unicorn. Then these joyous sights give way to scary shadows, bats, and monsters. In a scene reminiscent of Sendak's Max and his Wild Things, Ernest D. bravely banishes the brutes and is rewarded with a magnificent rainbow sunrise. Now completely satisfied with his "exceptional" discovery, he swims back to his end of the pond, where his house and all that surround it no longer seem ordinary at all. Ernest D.'s change in perception is reflected in color and detail. In the beginning, his world is empty and gray. Upon his return, light and life abound. Kuefler uses a combination of mixed media and photographed textures in his digital illustrations on heavy matte paper to create a nearly tangible reading experience. VERDICT Fans of Mac Barnett's Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Candlewick, 2014), visionaries, and adventurers alike will appreciate this imaginative offering.—Lynn Van Auken, Oak Bluffs School, Oak Bluffs, MA
“A witty, auspicious debut…[with] echoes of Jon Klassen and Wes Anderson.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“[A] tale of transformation and wonder…reminiscent of Sendak’s Max and his Wild Things.” (School Library Journal)
“This lovely picture book is a tribute to imagination and the wonder in everyday spaces…will resonate with young readers (Booklist)
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This is a story that builds on one's imagination and satisfies those questions. :) A very enjoyable read.