🏆 2019 Caldecott Honor Book **The most prestigious children’s book award possible.

🏆 2019 Massachusetts Book Award Honor 

🏆 2019 Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators Crystal Kite Award

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ages: 5 – 8 years old

I smile when I look at the weathered paint box.  The paints have mostly dried and the writing has faded from the linseed oil bottle.  However, I can’t bring myself to throw it out.

You see, it was my grandmothers.  She made that paint box with her own two hands.  The same hands that would reach out and gently close around my much smaller ones.

I think about Grandma often, and these days I enjoy the memory. It wasn’t always easy though; loss is always initially accompanied by grief.

New York Times bestselling author Brian Lies, has written and illustrated The Rough Patch, a beautifully illustrated children’s story about love, loss and renewal.

The Rough Patch is a great road-map for teaching children about grief and the anger which sometimes accompanies it… and of course, hope.

Evan, a denim overall wearing fox, does everything with his dog.  They play, eat and enjoy each other’s company throughout the seasons.  Most of all, they love working in Evan’s garden together.

But one day, the unthinkable happens. Evan is forced to say goodbye and lay his best friend to rest.

At first, Evan’s garden is a bright and happy place, but after the death of his companion it’s now bitter and lonely.  He hacks his beloved garden to pieces, tending to the weeds that sprout up and creates something that is sad and rough to match his feelings.

A seed of hope occurs when a pumpkin begins to grow. He tends to the pumpkin and one day, feels a familiar sense of excitement. It was fair week.

We follow Evan as he begins to emerge from his feelings of sadness and anger.  Even though it’s not quite the same, he feels good to be out and begins to enjoy himself again.

The ending is told through the illustrations and completes the circle of grief.  We know that Evan will be OK and will experience friendship and love again.

Lies expertly illustrates this book using acrylics, oils and colored pencils.  Evan’s emotional state is conveyed through the illustrations, becoming darker as he is consumed by sadness. They become vibrant again as he emerges from his grief and starts to feel hopeful.

Despite the very obvious theme of loss, The Rough Patch is a hopeful and positive book.

It’s no surprise that Brian Lies won the most prestigious of all Children’s Book Award for this book on behalf of the American Library Association, the Caldecott Honor.

Past winners include favorites such as: The Ugly Duckling, Casey at the Bat, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel.  See what makes this book so special.

The Rough Patch is for any family who has experienced loss, whether it be the loss of a friend, family member or beloved pet …


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