E.B. Goodale’s Also

h1 February 22nd, 2022 by jules


E.B. Goodale’s new picture book, Also (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 2022), is a gentle, tender meditation on memory. On the first spread, a child looks at readers, saying: “Today, I am at my gramma’s house, high on the hill, amongst the blueberry bushes. And also …” On the next spread, she remembers being small, camping with her mother and wandering away from her tent.

She’s here — and she’s there. In the present and in the past, all at once. Readers then see her gramma, who watches her from the window but also … remembers a moment in time from her own childhood. The same construction occurs with the girl’s mother and even her cat: They each are in the present moment but remember a time in the past. Pulling all these timelines — and women, past and present — together is a vivid red bird, who at the book’s close even shows us, thanks to palette choices Goodale makes, past and present in one spread with its swoops and swirls in the air.

The middle-aged me has been thinking a lot lately about the past. I seem to have landed at an age in which sometimes it almost seems as if I’ve lived more than life. That 25-year-old me may as well have been a different person altogether. That 40-year-old me: Who was she? She’s very different from the Now Me too. This is neither good nor bad; it is what it is. Child readers, at whom this book is aimed, may not have many years to look back on, but this book gives them an opportunity to think about the elusive qualities of time — especially toward the book’s close when the girl is now a woman, remembering the moment we see in the very first spread. And child readers, looking beyond themselves, might think about the adults in their lives. What were they like when they were younger? This one is a conversation-starter.

Or not. It might also quietly linger in children’s minds while they ponder time and memory and past and present — and our remarkable ability as humans to be in both at once. “We are all here,” Goodale writes, “and also there.”

E.B. visits today to share a few early sketches as well as final spreads from the book. She writes:

Careful readers will notice that in Also the characters are perfectly aligned from page to page when they move from present to past. The book barely changed at all from the early sketches, which is kind of amazing, but that careful alignment of the characters came to be more honed in the final version. You’ll see in the third sketch below that I originally had the perspective completely flipped on the page that says, “Now, many years have passed, and I am sitting at my desk writing this book.” It was only while I was working on final art that it clicked that we needed to see that face perfectly align with the past version of herself on the hill with the blueberries.

I thank her for visiting.


A Few Early Sketches …


(Click sketch to enlarge)


(Click sketch to enlarge)


(Click sketch to enlarge)


Some Final Spreads from the Book …


“Today, I am at my gramma’s house, high on the hill,
amongst the blueberry bushes. And also …”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“… I am remembering camping with Mama. Wandering away from our tent —
all was quiet except for a rustling in the trees.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“We are all here … and also there.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


* * * * * * *

ALSO. Copyright © 2021 by E.B. Goodale. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All images here reproduced by permission of E.B. Goodale.

One comment to “E.B. Goodale’s Also

  1. I can’t wait to hold this book in my hands and to share it with my granddaughter.

    Thank you so much, Jules.

    Your faithful reader

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