#RivetingReviews: Clare Gaunt reviews WHAT’S HIDDEN IN THE SKY: ANIMAL CONSTELLATIONS AROUND THE WORLD by Aina Bestard

Aina Bestard’s wonderfully creative nonfiction books for children allow new readers to enjoy awe of the natural world. This skyward addition departs from the style of her earlier titles, What’s Hidden in the Woods and What’s Hidden in the Sea, and tailors her characteristically intricate designs to the theme of constellation-seeking in the dark. The resulting imaginings of children’s night-time bedrooms all over the world invite readers to hold the book up to the light, peep through windows, and find animals in the sky.

The page set in a Mongolian yurt is incredibly immersive and the drawings of the animals layered over actual constellations at the end of the book are more gorgeous than any star-spotting app I have come across. To use the jargon, this book is a 360-degree experience, making reading something you really can do together, and an immediate and lasting journey through space and time.

Some of the translated ‘riddles’ inviting readers to guess the animal they need to look out for are more successful than others. Metre is such a tricky game, and I have great admiration for those with the skills to try it. However, the poetic imagery adds to the fantasy of the illustrations, creating wonderfully precise, fanciful, original and evocative ideas. Who would have thought that a lion would make a good guide in the dark? Or that a peacock is waving at you when it fans its tail?

It is indeed a comfort to encounter books that inspire such communion in days like these. And it’s fun to snuggle up with your young reader and interact with pages that remind us that we are all under that one mantle, the sky.

Reviewed by Clare Gaunt


By Aina Bestard

Translated by Annie Crawford 

for Eriksen Translations Inc.

Published by Tra Publishing (2022)

Read The Spanish Riveter here or order your paper copy from here.

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Clare Gaunt is a translator of nonfiction children’s books including Majestic Mountains: Discover Earth’s Mighty Peaks and Majestic Oceans: Discover the World Beneath the Waves by Mia Cassany and illustrated by Marcos Navarro.

Category: The Spanish RiveterApril 2023 – The Spanish RiveterReviewsThe Riveter


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