cover image Together We Grow

Together We Grow

Susan Vaught, illus. by Kelly Murphy. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-0586-8

Inviting dialogue about the need for inclusivity, Vaught (Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry) offers a lyrical narrative in concise rhyming couplets that are fleshed out in dramatic mixed-media illustrations by Murphy (The Slowest Book Ever). As dark clouds overtake the sky, farm animals dash toward a barn to take refuge from an impending storm: “Lightning gash!/ Windy lash!” Huddled together, the menagerie (which includes a few critters—frogs, raccoons, a snail—not usually associated with barn life) looks up apprehensively at a window where a fox appears (“Go away!/ We’re full today!”). After one intrepid duckling ventures out into the lashing rain—and, in a stirring full-bleed spread, is seen face-to-face with the fox—the animals emerge to help usher the vulpine family into their dry sanctuary, where all—“Brindle and gray,/ dapple or bay”—remain until blue skies return. Murphy makes effective use of shadow and light in pictures that convey the expressive animals’ apprehension and eventual change of heart—and underscore the importance of trust and acceptance. Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]