When Marcy Campbell was signing my copy of Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse, I mentioned how I like reading picturebooks about loss and grief. She then recommended Cori Doerrfeld’s The Rabbit Listened, which was on display during her book launch in our library. A couple of weeks later, I ran into Marcy again. We exchanged hellos and then she showed me a new picturebook by Brian Lies (author of the popular bats series). The book was called The Rough Patch, and it reminded me of Grandpa Green by Lane Smith. I love getting recommendations from people! I checked out both titles and am very delighted to share them with you in this post.
Words and pictures by Cori Doerrfeld
Published by Dial Books (2018)
Copy provided by Geauga County Public Library.
From the dust jacket: When something sad happens to Taylor, all the animals think they know how to help. One by one they come, but nothing they say makes Taylor feel better…
Until the rabbit arrives… and the rabbit knows just what to do.
With scarce text and tender, soft colored illustrations, The Rabbit Listened is a beautiful picturebook about empathy. Cori Doerrfeld was inspired to write this story after several of her friends went through difficult times. The book is not only great for read-aloud but also a reminder that sometimes all we need is for someone to just listen.
Words and pictures by Brian Lies
Published by Greenwillow Books (2018)
Copy provided by Hudson Library & Historical Society.
From the dust jacket: Evan and his dog do everything together. They play and read and eat. But mostly you will find them tending to Evan’s extraordinary garden, where flowers and other good things flourish and reach for the sky…
But friends don’t always stay forever, and when Evan loses his, he destroys the place that meant the most to them, and creates something to match his mood. Something ugly and twisted, sad and stubborn, ragged and rough—and he likes it that way. Until one day…
The Rough Patch by Brian Lies is another picturebook to love. It talks about loss and grief, particularly the death of a pet or, in Evan’s case, a friend. This book portrayed the impact of grief in our emotions—harboring feelings of bitterness and anger—and its effect in our lives—being destructive and shutting oneself away from the world.
In spite of it all, Evan managed to find hope and healing through nature. He tended to a prickly, fizzy, spidery, and twisty pumpkin vine, which later grew into a beautiful pumpkin. When Evan was presented a second chance during Fair Week, he decided to take it—a good reminder that there are positive ways to deal with loss and find healing.