Review of The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky

The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky
by Jihyun Kim; illus. by the author
Primary    Floris    48 pp.  g
4/22    978-1-78250-742-0    $17.95

This wordless picture book about a city child visiting the country pays tribute to the wonders of the natural world. The cinematic illustrations begin on the front endpapers with an overhead view of a busy city. After the title page, we see a child and a dog playing on the floor of a cozy bedroom while the adults prepare for a trip. Zooming out once again, we follow the family’s car as it travels out of the city and into the countryside, where the family is welcomed to a small cottage by an older couple. There the adventure truly begins, as the child explores a forest path, encounters giant ferns, swims to the bottom of a clear pond to greet fish among the kelp, sunbathes on a dock, and finally returns to the cottage to eat dinner and gaze at the stars. The illustrations were “entirely drawn and painted using writing ink and slow-dry blending medium,” resulting in a dreamy gray, white, and blue palette that complements the tranquil tone. The lack of text adds to the sense of reverence; a brief author’s note explains the inspiration for the story. Vivid facial expressions and body language tell the viewer all we need to know about the child’s inner life, while the beauty of the landscape speaks for itself.

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Rachael Stein
K Rachael Stein

K Rachael Stein is the digital resources analyst at Southern Maryland Regional Library. She blogs at

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