Reviews for The Rough Patch

by Brian Lies

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Evan (an anthropomorphized fox) and his dog enjoy doing everything together, especially working in Evan's garden. Lies's lush acrylic, oil, and colored-pencil illustrations with delicate line work evoke the magnificence of Evan's garden, then his intense sadness and isolation after his beloved dog dies. This tender story of loss, hope, and recovery comes full circle when Evan hesitantly returns to gardening--and gets a new puppy, to boot. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Nature brings healing and a reawakening of the heart.Evan, a farmer, is a red fox; his best friend and trusty companion is a black mutt. They do everything together, including work in Evan's lush garden. Eventually the dog dies, and Evan is inconsolable. Progressing through the stages of grief, Evan mourns, then feels bitter anger and destroys the garden, hacking it to pieces (presumably not, as some readers may wonder, the corner where he buried his friend). Matching Evan's mood, the formerly beautiful place is now weed-filled and forlorn. A creeping pumpkin vine gradually helps Evan to reassess his thinking. Deciding not to destroy the nascent plant, he cultivates it; his tender horticultural touch allows the pumpkin to develop into a gourd of enormous proportions. Bringing it to the fair, Evan wins third placeand oh, what a prize he chooses, revealed wordlessly on the book's final page! This story is simply and subtly told with admirably genuine emotion, but the textured, strong-hued art is the real standout. Charming images, such as Evan's gardening boots with holes for claws, and heart-wrenching onesnote Evan's bending over the dog's unmoving bodyare to savor. Lies also matches colors and characters' expressiveness to moods and provides white space around numerous vignettes to focus readers' attention. Reassuring and clear, this is a heartfelt story about loss and discovering that one can love again. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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