The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky

The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky
Age Range
Release Date
April 19, 2022
Buy This Book
It's summertime and a boy and his dog are leaving behind their apartment in the busy city.

His grandparents' home in the countryside feels like a different world. From the window, the curious boy sees a path leading enticingly into the forest. He can't wait to explore.

At each bend in the trail the boy discovers more wonders of the surrounding natural world, from towering trees to a still, silent lake. He can't resist diving down, down into the cool water and greeting the fish below. Then later, when boy and dog have been warmed by the gentle sunshine, they wander back, contentedly, to their family. But before they go to sleep, nature gives them one last dazzling show: they look up, up to a night sky awash with stars.

Without a word, The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky tells the heartfelt and uplifting story of a child's independent discovery of the natural world. Kim Jihyun cleverly captures excitement, wonder and joy in intricate illustrations using a deceptively simple color palate.

This is a beautiful wordless story about allowing ourselves to be present in the moment and see the world afresh.

Editor review

1 review
Idyllic trip to the country
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
In this oversized (9.25 x 12.75 inches) wordless picture book, we see a young boy and his parents leave the city, drive through the country, and arrive at his grandparents' house in the country. While there, he and his dog spend a lot of time outside, observing the different types of trees in the woods, swimming in the lake and frolicking among the fish and plants at the bottom, and looking up at the stars at night after dinner with the family.

As a big fan of words, I personally struggle with wordless picture books, but they are a great springboard for all kinds of conversations. Children, even middle schoolers, can use them to scaffold their own stories, describe what is happening in the pictures, and even to infer what might occur in the story each time they turn the page.
Good Points
Jihyun's illustrations are very beautiful, and the sense of serenity in the natural world is very powerful. Done entirely with writing ink, this means that the illustrations are in black and white. The detail is exquisite, from the leaves on the trees to the family photographs hanging in the grandparents' living room. The boy's facial expressions as he is introduced to his new environment also serve as a springboard for discussions on not only what is happening, but what emotions are being shown.

There have been a lot of wonderful picture books dealing with the natural world lately, such as Kooser's Marshmallow Clouds, Sanchez' Hello, Puddle, Lentino's Littlest Acorn, Giuliani's At the Sea, and Hopkinson's Only One. This is more of an emotional exploration of the feeling of being in the woods and away from the hustle and bustle of city life and would be a beautiful and calming way to end the day with a young child, discussing the adventures of the little boy and looking into the details of his surroundings.
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