How Long Is Eternity?

Author(s): Cheng Pei Yee, Rayne Ngoi
Illustrator(s): Wang Lu Bo

Every hundred years, a little bird races against the sun and the moon. Along its way, it sees the vast Diamond Mountain and rests upon the peak for a moment in time.

‘How many seconds are there in eternity?’ asked the King.
'Once upon a time,' replied the shepherd boy, 'there was a Diamond Mountain...'


This story is loosely adapted from The Shepherd Boy, a fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm. A clever shepherd boy’s answer to the question informs the philosophy behind this concertina book. 

With its unique four-direction text presentation serving to present a different aspect to the story each time, the concept of eternity is introduced and reinforced through amusing readings and re-readings of the book.


The small size of 'How Long is Eternity' and its exquisite little case had given me the impression at first, that it was a child's diary. Printed in colour on one side and in black and white on the other, the book can be read from either direction. The detailed illustration in this book will leave a deep impression on young children on the concept of time.

The accordion book design is such that when the entire book is extended, a complete image will be formed. Just like the cycle of life, the Bird of Time makes its journey from one end of the world towards the peak, experiencing difficulties along the way, in a creative and free-spirited journey.

The charming artistry of the book communicates to the reader the nature of a cyclical and closely-integrated journey in order to show the meaning of eternity. Whether from the words or the illustrations, children are able to gain a new understanding towards the concept of eternity. They will understand too, that words may not be necessary, and that pictures alone may be able to bring out a theme perfectly. To me, this is the most rewarding aspect of the book.'

This is not an ordinary book. This accordion book is read as a long scroll, in two different directions. The art is continuous as well. To read this story, one begins to read the story from left to right, until the last page of the book, before rotating the book 180 degrees and reading from left to right again until the very first page.

When the book is fully extended, it reaches over 2 metres in length. Unless we observe very carefully, we are unable to see where the pages are joined. The art and the text are cohesive. The production of this book is exquisite.

This is the most beautiful, creative and unique book that I've ever read. ... When viewed under the light, the bird's feathers glow a luminescent blue. ... When you slide the book out from its solid slip-case, you will discover that this is not only a book but a lengthy illustrated scroll.

This is a very special book. Created in the format of a scroll, the book changes our habit of flipping through the individual pages of a book. In terms of its visual appearance and its construction, the book is a revelation for the senses.

The book doesn't quite read normally as others - it has a unique four-direction text presentation. You have to keep turning the book either 90° or 180° to read the text or look at the pictures. The fact that you have to keep rotating the book during the reading experience and how the book actually can also be opened up into a complete circle also reinforces the neverending nature of eternity.

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S$ 15.95


Pages: 48
Format: Hardcover concertina book with slipcase
Presentation: Double-side printing in colour and monochrome
Dimensions: 110 x 156.5 mm (Text)
116 x 162.5 mm (Cover)
125 x 175 x 18 mm (Slipcase)
Language: Bilingual (Chinese and English)
ISBN: 978-981-07-7756-2


Concertina book
Unique text presentation
1-side black-and-white art
1-side full colour art