Beyond the horizon

by | Jan 25, 2021 | Book Review, Picture Book

Beyond the horizon cover

Book Details

Beyond the Horizon
Carolina Celas, transl. Jethro Soutar. Berlin: Little Gestalten, hb 978 3 8995 5840 1, 2020, £10.95, 36pp.
Picture book, 5-10 years

This is an attractive book. Celas’ soft palette and expansive use of the double-page spreads draw the eye in; here is a visual language that intrigues and poses a question – what are we looking at?

Here is no picture book for the very youngest despite the minimal text and the fun details to discover hidden in the illustrations. There is no story-narrative. Rather this is a book to excite discussion and exploration, to inspire reflection and the imagination. Celas’ subject is rather a concept, the horizon. This is something that exists in every aspect of life – but it is not a solid object – it depends on the point of view. It can be distant or enclose one, it can even disappear. This is not something easy to describe and Celas is not providing a scientific explanation; as she interrogates the horizon she is asking young readers to use their own ideas, to ask their own questions. She closes the book with a question “Are you inside me, too?” 

First published in Portugal, here translated by Jethro Soutar, Beyond the Horizon represents a genre that is not so evident in books published for children in the UK; the reflective exploration of concepts, picture books that take a gentle philosophical approach presenting ideas not so much through text as through the images. This is an example that is both attractive and challenging but well worth exploring.

Review by FMH