A Difficult Thing by Silvia Vecchini & Sualzo

Odd that the book is subtitled The Importance Of Admitting Mistakes when those words are nowhere to be found in the copy I was sent. Not that there are many words at all in this book, which is a gorgeously illustrated, deceptively simple parable acknowledging how hard it is to say sorry but how worthwhile in the end.

We follow a young dog in a cyanotype-tinted landscape as he makes amends to the friend he wronged. The struggle to do the right thing is echoed in the metaphor of the difficult terrain he must traverse, which slowly warms and lightens as he apologizes and helps to make right what went awry. As far as story goes, it’s not terribly complicated or long, but the thoughtfulness of the art, whether it be in the friends’ distinct expressions or in the perfectly evoked weather conditions and their effects on the characters, is absolutely stunning. Silvia Vecchini and Sualzo do amazing things with pacing just by going in for close-ups then zooming out again, and working with layers of color to signify shadow and light. The meditative aspect of this book is superb, with the art inviting you to linger over each page while you empathize with the hesitancy and struggle of the protagonist to keep working towards earning forgiveness.

I’ve never read anything by these creators before but definitely would again. Highly recommended for all children (tho not necessarily in the Adobe Digital Edition I read. I swear that format was designed to pain the reader in exchange for entertainment.)

A Difficult Thing by Silvia Vecchini & Sualzo was published September 28 2021 by Ablaze and is available from all good booksellers, including

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