The Rough Patch
The Rough Patch

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Annotation: Farmer Evan and his dog do everything together, especially in the garden; but when Evan's dog passes away, Evan lets his garden fill with weeds. That is, until a pumpkin vine brings new hope.
Catalog Number: #182080
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-267127-8 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4416-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-267127-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4416-4
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2017034540
Dimensions: 24 x 29 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
This multigenerational tale of a family seeking freedom begins by introducing Kollie, a Liberian American teen in 2008 Minnesota. Readers are transported to 1926 Liberia to an earlier generation of Kollie's family; then to 1827 Virginia; forward to 1980 Monrovia; and finally to 2018, where Kollie's sister, Angel, ties together the various threads of this sprawling tale. Gibney tackles the complexity of Liberia's history and illuminates how humans end up treating each other cruelly. Reading list, timeline.
Publishers Weekly
The polished, jaunty spreads that open this story by Lies (Gator Dad) give little hint of the deep emotion to come. Evan, a fox, cuts a handsome figure in his overalls and wire-rimmed spectacles, and he and his beloved black-and-white dog are always together. They drive in Evan-s red farm truck and play games, -But what they loved the most was working in Evan-s magnificent garden,- a lush, fertile enclosure studded with neat trellises. Then, two terrible things happen: Evan-s dog dies-readers see the fox slumped over the hound-s body-and in his grief, Evan destroys his garden, swinging a hoe that fells the plants and snaps the trellises in two. The story of how Evan finds his way through his grief rings true, and Lies-s atmospherically lit, exquisitely drafted paintings will absorb readers as they trace Evan-s journey through mourning. Some sensitive readers may draw back from tragedy this stark, but others will be fascinated by Evan-s mysterious world, in which pumpkins grow into prize-winning behemoths and rubber boots come specially made for fox feet. Ages 4-8. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Aug.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 25 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
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Farmer Evan, portrayed as a fox in overalls, has a dog. Constant companions, they enjoy playing games, taking hikes, and working in the garden. But after the dog's death, Evan feels that nothing will be quite the same and so hacks his beloved garden to bits. Time passes. Weeds move in, and he lets the itchy, spiky-looking ones stay. He begins to tend a prickly vine, which eventually produces an enormous pumpkin. Feeling "an old, familiar sense of excitement," Evan hauls his pumpkin to the local fair, where he enjoys the food, the games, and talking with old friends. His pumpkin wins him a prize: $10 or a puppy. He drives home with a new companion. Spare and beautifully phrased, the story is well told in the text. But Evan's emotions are most vividly conveyed in the artwork, created with acrylics, oils, and colored pencils. In the graveside scene, a shadow literally falls over Evan, while on the facing page, the phrase "and nothing was the same" appears on a light gray background, encroached by looming, chaotic darkness. Lies' rich colors and expressive use of light are evident throughout this picture book, which acknowledges grief and delivers a hopeful message with subtlety, empathy, and eloquence.
Word Count: 365
Reading Level: 2.8
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.8 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 195849 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:2.3 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q74910
Lexile: AD580L

A breathtakingly beautiful and luminescent book about loss and grief, love and hope, and the healing power of friendship and nature, from New York Times–bestselling picture book creator Brian Lies.

Readers of Cynthia Rylant’s classic Dog Heaven, the Fan Brothers’ The Night Gardener, and anyone experiencing loss will be swept up by this poignant story.

Evan and his dog do everything together, from eating ice cream to caring for their award-winning garden, which grows big and beautiful. One day the unthinkable happens: Evan’s dog dies. Heartbroken, Evan destroys the garden and everything in it. The ground becomes overgrown with prickles and thorns, and Evan embraces the chaos.

But beauty grows in the darkest of places, and when a twisting vine turns into an immense pumpkin, Evan is drawn out of his misery and back to the county fair, where friendships—old and new—await.

New York Times–bestselling author-illustrator Brian Lies has created a beautiful, accessible, and deeply personal story about friendship, loss, and recovery. The Rough Patch features stunning paintings by the award-winning creator of Bats at the Beach.

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