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Children's Fiction Imagination & Play

Blue Rider

illustrated by Geraldo Valério

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Mar 2018
Imagination & Play, Books & Libraries, Art & Architecture
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2018
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2018
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 4 to 7


“[A] dazzling vision of the way art transcends the everyday.” — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

On a gray and crowded city sidewalk, a child discovers a book. That evening, the child begins to read and is immediately carried beyond the repetitive sameness of an urban skyscape into an untamed natural landscape. The child experiences a moment of true joy, and as if in response to that single blissful moment, people seem to come alive in all the other rooms of the apartment block. Thanks to the power of one book, an entire society is transformed.

In creating this book, Geraldo Valério was inspired by the German Expressionist group known as Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), which formed in Munich in 1911 and included painters Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky. These artists sought to find the spiritual significance in art, with an emphasis on form and color. In turn, Valério has created a wordless book that speaks volumes about how art can transform us beyond the sometimes-dreary world of the everyday.

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

Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

About the author

Geraldo Valério was born in Brazil, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing, followed by a Master of Arts at New York University. His many highly acclaimed books include My Book of Birds (described in Booklist as “striking and beautiful”); At the Pond (two starred reviews); Friends (one starred review); Blue Rider (two starred reviews); Turn On the Night (three starred reviews) and The Egg (two starred reviews). His work has been published in many countries, including Canada, the US, Brazil, Portugal, France, the UK and China. Geraldo lives in Toronto.


Geraldo Valério's profile page


  • Short-listed, Elizabeth-Mrazik Cleaver Award
  • Commended, Bayviews Outstanding List

Editorial Reviews

. . . this book simply and persuasively speaks to the power of art to brighten and illuminate our lives, no matter how or where we find it.


[Valerio’s] Picassoesque style flourishes through the dreamlike sequence of illustrations … A seamless interweaving of reverie and reality, Blue Rider is a must-have wordless addition to any picture book collection.

Canadian Review of Materials

Here is a tribute to art, to books, and to the power of the imagination.


Looking at art doesn’t always stir the soul, but when it does the sensation can be so powerful as to feel like a subsuming rapture. Geraldo Valério manages to replicate this dizzying and rare experience in Blue Rider.

Wall Street Journal

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.


Valerio’s book continues the thoughts of The Blue Rider group, and posits that through the art of a children’s picture book we can be helped in transforming our often dull world into something brighter, larger, and more joyous.


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

Without question, this narrative is a visual experience that invites readers to not only appreciate, but also actively engage with, art. . . . A seamless interweaving of reverie and reality, Blue Rider is a must-have wordless addition to any picture book collection.

CM Magazine

Valério demonstrates that art has the power to create inspiration and joy in an often beauty-starved, too predictable world.

Canadian Children's Book News

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