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The Visitor

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  448 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Elise was frightened—of spiders, people, even trees. So she never went out,
night or day.
One day a strange thing flies in through the window and lands at her feet. And then there comes a knock at the door. Elise has a visitor who will change everything.
This is a gentle, sympathetic story about a child who unwittingly brings
light and colour—literally—into a lonely person’s
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2018 by Gecko Press (first published February 3rd 2015)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  448 ratings  ·  123 reviews

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May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
No, Miriam, you do not need to start making a 3-D collage.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
This is a sweet children's book about a shy, lonely woman named Elise. Elise is scared of people and the outdoors, so she never leaves her home. One day, a neighborhood boy knocks on her door and wants to play. Elise surprises herself by enjoying spending time with the visitor.

The illustrations beautifully contrast the difference in Elise's world — when she was lonely, everything was in black and white, but as soon as she meets the boy, there is color and vibrancy. The 3D drawings had the
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Beautiful story of connection conquering fear, with a woman who lives alone and the paper airplane that brings a visitor, which brings color and life into her home.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Elise has allowed her fear to keep her locked up and alone in her cottage for years, until the day that an unexpected paper airplane glides through her open window. Afraid of even the plane she throws it into the trash and has nightmares of swirling paper crafts when she tries to sleep. The next morning a little boy knocks on her door looking for his lost treasure. As children often will, he walks right in and begins asking questions and wanting to do activities with her. Elise opens herself up ...more
It's quite lovely to see how a little boy literally brings color, excitement and joy into a secluded, timid, old lady's life and house. Page by page, by page.


Karen Witzler
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2018. 3-D collage illustrations take agoraphobic solitary Elise from gray-tones to color as a neighborhood child spends the day visiting. The illustrations and concept are finely aligned and well-done, yet it had no emotional impact or real interest for me.
When Elise leaves her window open one day whilst cleaning her room, a paper aeroplane flies in. But Elise has a problem, she cannot cope with the outside world. Worse, someone is knocking at her door asking for their plane back...
In a similar visual style to My Father's Arms Are a Boat, Damm produces a vibrant and highly memorable picturebook in which a young, inquisitive child supports an older lady who, for some reason, had lost her inquisitiveness and joy for life. It's a beautiful book;
Just beautiful. Keep an eye on the illustrations for a lovely visual metaphor of connecting and awakening. Diorama illustrations create a unique look. This would be interesting paired with the longer but similarly-themed book "The House of Lost and Found," another of my recent favorites.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Elise is an old woman who is afraid of everything and lives in her gray, drab home. One day, a little boy comes to the door and before long, Elise's home is filled with color.

That's what I liked about the book; watching the story and the colors unfold.
Sweet story about a recluse who gets a unexpected visitor. Delightful cuts out.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Elise never leaves her house. She is scared of everything, including spiders, trees and people. But she does like to open her windows to let in fresh air. One day, a paper airplane flies through the open window and into her house. She immediately scooped it into the fire, but she had nightmares about paper planes all night. The next day a boy knocked on Elise’s front door and asked about his plane. He also asked to use the bathroom. Elise let him in. As the boy came down the stairs, he asked ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I love the art work that makes up this book. There are cutouts that overlay the illustrations, that give each page in this book, a multi-dimensional look. The beginning pages are dark but as the story begins to unfold, more color is added to each page and by the time the story is over, the final page is bursting with color.

The story itself was different. Elise lives by herself and she is scared of everything: people, trees, etc. Elise never leaves her house, hence the dark coloring of the
As she's grown older, Elise has become increasingly reclusive and afraid of just about everything. When a paper airplane sails through her window one day, its arrival leads to a new friendship and opens a world of possibilities for Elise. Although Elise is at first frightened by the paper craft and destroys it, once a boy named Emil comes looking for it, and they spend some time together, talking, playing, sharing a snack, and even reading, she decides that she wants to see more of him. Readers ...more
Just go have a look at this picture book. Charming isn’t the only word, but it’ll do.
You’re first hope after seeing that opening endpaper, is that that the story will live up to that fantastic setting. And it does.
Elise is terrified of everything and it is best to just stay indoors. The trouble comes when she lets in fresh air, and a paper plane. A boy comes to ask after it the next day, and has an urgent request for the bathroom. And the visitor just stays, tracking color everywhere he goes and
Stephanie Bange
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book about the universal theme of loneliness and opening up your world...

Elise lived alone in her black, white and gray world until one day, a boy enters her house and transforms it with color and liveliness wherever he goes. First published in 2015 in German, this translation was smoothly translated into English by Sally-Ann Spencer for Gecko Press. The 3-D cardboard constructions are the perfect setting, helping the 2-dimensional characters pop. An amazing book, worthy of the
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting mix that resembles photography and drawings-- and what about the thick paper? The colors and Elise come to life as she interacts with a strange boy who has knocked on her door. I thought it was interesting that the front inside jacket was blank, but maybe that was a translation issue. Kids would have a lot of questions-- why did she stay alone? Who was the boy? Did he get in trouble for visiting a stranger? Nice concept, though, of the power of children, stories, and play.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
A very cute book with *gorgeous* illustrations. I LOVE them.
The story itself is very sweet, with only a couple oddities. (Where on Earth are Emil's parents, that they don't notice he's gone all day? Or tell him that he's not supposed to stay at a stranger's house?)
But it's a lovely tale, and again, I LOVE how Emil literally brings the colors inside with him.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This simple picture book will have a powerful impact on you. After reading you will enthusiastically encourage friends and strangers to seek The Visitor by Antje Damm. As you turn the last page expect to have teary eyes while smiling.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: inter-generational and fear requests
An old woman, scared of everything, hides in her house. One day she has a visitor and life looks up.

Interesting illustrations - starting in black and white with color only showing through the windows, until her visitor comes in and adds color to the house.
Er Kuan
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love the way the illustrations go from black n white to colourful.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
November 2018 - Ben insists that the boy's pants and shirt were coloring the house, and he loved flipping back and forth to notice the color spread. Completely charming.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
A shut-in makes a fabulous journey to friendship on the wings of a paper airplane.
Rob McGrory
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cute little story and I loved the artwork. I did feel, however, that the translation may have been a bit wonky.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked how as the boy and woman became friends, the colors got lighter in the illustrations. Awesome illustration style.
Katie Mote
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this picture book, very simple and yet I feel like there could be lots of hidden stories within. The book sparks so many questions in my mind, why is Elise scared of everything? What happened at the dance? What will happen next? Will she feel happy again? This book could be used with all ages of children due to the different levels you could engage with the book. The pictures are striking and work well alongside the text, seeing how the colours change throughout the book as she seems to ...more
Milton Public
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Charming thematic illustrations go with a simple story about how we need other people to make life 'colorful.' Sweet and strong.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous book on loneliness - wonderful illustrations - would be a great book to consider with 'John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat'. Also great artwork and theme of loneliness
R. G. Nairam
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The art in this one!!
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
While parts of this story about isolation and fear are oversimplified, there are also some wonderful bits of imagery, especially the use of color vs. monochrome to show a main character's life vs. her interactions with the rest of the world. It reminded me of the way the 1939 Wizard of Oz film used color to represent magic, as opposed to the sepia tones of the "real" world of Kansas.
In this case, a little boy intrudes on an older woman's self-imposed isolation, and begins to change her life, as
Melissa Mcavoy
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great illustration and potent message about engagement with others overcoming fear
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