Blue Rider

Image of Blue Rider
Release Date: 
March 6, 2018
Groundwood Books
Reviewed by: 

This deceptively simple, wordless picture book begins in a mundane world of dull grays and tans. A young girl looks out the window from her room in an immense apartment block onto a bleak world. She is pictured as a single, lonely figure trapped in a concrete and glass box. She steps out of the building into the crowded city street and joins the stream of humanity, each person absorbed in his or her own narrow world.

Then she notices a book on the ground and sensing it contains remarkable possibilities, picks it up. Back home that evening in her bleak little bedroom, our heroine opens the book to an image of a wondrous blue horse with a golden tale and colorful mane.

Shattering the boundaries of the four dull walls, the blue horse takes our heroine on an exciting mental adventure where the world is transformed by colors, shapes, and patterns.

We see the blue horse’s golden tail flash across the sky like a comet, its spiky red mane fanned out across is back. Life and color seem to tumble from the horses flying body, floating down through the air and adding patches of pigment to the dull brown and gray city buildings below.

The action and color intensify as the horse emerges from the urban landscape into an abstraction of a sunny, grassy environment with multi-hued puff ball flowers and demi-circles of gold, orange, red, and green suggesting suns rising over the horizon. 

A spread of vibrant colors and shapes resolves itself into the possibility of a butterfly’s wing, while on the next page, the high energy composition might be birds and fish. Or it might just be a joyous mixture of colors, patterns, and shapes. It’s all about possibility, imagination, and the transformative, spiritual power of art.

At the end of the journey, the blue horse returns the little girl to her room, where she is depicted with a look of bliss on her face, her arms encircling the book that has opened her eyes and her heart to a new world where anything is possible and where art can transcend the everyday.

As our heroine sleeps, we see her room is no longer a black, empty space in a concrete block building. It is a vivid, lively place of joyous color and patterns. Her dreams are sweet and her imagination is alive.

Treat your child—and yourself—to this wondrous journey on the back of Geraldo Valério’s mystical blue horse. You’ll experience a world of exciting, vibrant beauty where brilliant, inspired works of art have the power to elevate a life.

Illustrator Geraldo Valério’s beautiful book is inspired by the German Expressionist group formed in Munich in 1911 by painters including Paul Klee, Franz Marc, and Wassily Kandinsky. Calling themselves Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) after a 1903 painting of that name by Kandinsky, the group’s members sought to express spiritual truths through their art. Kandinsky in particular saw blue as the color of spirituality. He believed that the darker the blue, the more it awakened the human desire for the eternal.