Maria Gulemetova
Beyond the Fence

Child’s Play Library (4+)

978-1-84643-930-8 (paperback)

Piggy and Thomas are friends and live together in a countryside mansion with every imaginable luxury. Piggy wears what Thomas tells him to and plays Thomas’s games. He puts up with Thomas’s moods and whims until…one day, he takes a walk and life changes forever.

When Piggy ventures outside he experiences freedom for the first time. He encounters Wild Pig and learns about the joy of running and the wonderful possibilities of life beyond the fence. The confines and isolation of the mansion are contrasted with the expanses of the countryside Wild Pig inhabits, a world which contains perils but also the opportunity to become real. Glorious watercolour washes and fine use of detail convey a poignant sense of Piggy’s loneliness. He is forced to watch and listen, never allowed to fully participate in Thomas’s games. What will happen to Piggy if Wild Pig fails to return? The panoramic sweep of the illustrations, expert use of perspective and minute attention to detail emphasise Piggy’s longing for a true friend.


Maria Gulemetova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her father was an illustrator, and her mother is an art historian. Their house was full of beautiful illustrated books, and she remembers spending many hours absorbed in the pictures. She attended a specialized high school, majoring in Textiles, and went on to study Textiles at the Art Academy in Sofia. Gradually, however, she discovered a love of communicating ideas through stories, which led her to the wonderful MA course at Anglia Ruskin. Currently she lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband and two kids, where they enjoy plenty of rain, wildlife and natural beauty.

Back to The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Shortlist for 2019