The Rough Patch
Evan—a farmer—and his dog do everything together, from eating ice cream to caring for their showstopping garden where everything grows big and beautiful. One day, the unthinkable happens: Evan’s dog dies. Heartbroken, Evan destroys the garden and everything in it. Soon, the patch fills with weeds, becoming ugly with prickles and thorns, and Evan embraces the chaos and misery. When a twisting pumpkin vine reaches under the fence, he decides to let it grow. It grows and grows and produces an immense pumpkin. Drawn back to the county fair he and his dog visited every year, Evan reconnects with old friends and his pumpkin wins the perfect prize: a new pup to bring home.
New York Times–bestselling author-illustrator Brian Lies has created a beautiful, accessible, and deeply personal story about friendship, loss, and recovery. Detailed paintings depict the changing seasons and convey great emotion. The Rough Patch is an ideal choice for those experiencing the loss of a pet or a loved one.
Full-color illustrations created with acrylics, oils, and colored pencils.
JLG Release: Nov 2018
Awards & Honors
2019 Caldecott Award Honor
ALSC Notable Children's Books - 2019
CCBC Choices 2019 Choice: Picture Books for School-Age Children
NYPL Best Books for Kids - 2018
NPR’s Book Concierge - 2018
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Booklist*, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal*, Publishers Weekly*
School Library Journal
Lies taps into the powerful nature of love, loss, grief, and hope in his latest picture book. Evan, a fox, and his dog are best friends and in a series of acrylic, oil, and colored pencil vignettes, they are shown attending a fair, playing games, and, most important, working in Evan’s meticulously groomed garden. T [STARRED REVIEW]
Lies taps into the powerful nature of love, loss, grief, and hope in his latest picture book. Evan, a fox, and his dog are best friends and in a series of acrylic, oil, and colored pencil vignettes, they are shown attending a fair, playing games, and, most important, working in Evan’s meticulously groomed garden. These loving scenes are abruptly cut short by a large spread of white space with spare text stating: “But one day, the unthinkable happened.” On the opposing page, white space surrounds a grieving Evan as he mourns the loss of his dog. In his grief, Evan destroys the garden that reminds him so much of his friend and weeds grow in its place. When a pumpkin vine sneaks into the garden, Evan allows it to take root and with it, hope returns. With lyrical figurative language, Evan transitions from being devastated by heartache to a being willing to step back into the world again. With his pumpkin, Evan rejoins his friends at the fair. Although it’s not the same without his best friend, he enjoys himself again and even wins a prize for his pumpkin. His prize and the hope of all those who suffer love’s loss is a chance to love again with a new puppy. While best suited for independent readers or shared moments during a loss, this poignant picture book provides an exquisite depiction of grief and hope. VERDICT A remarkable first selection for all libraries and a helpful guide for children and adults who are going through their own rough patches.—Rachel Zuffa, Racine Public Library, WI
9 1/4"" x 11 1/4""
Level 2.8; Points: 0.5;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 2.3; Points: 1;