Publisher: Scallywag Press

Finn is in a horrible mood and doesn’t want to talk about it – he’d rather hide under the bedcovers. But Grandpa persuades Finn to come for a walk outside – Finn can even stay under the blanket and use it like a comforting, protective cloak.

Grandpa leads Finn through a beautiful forest, where he points out that there is as much going on beneath the surface as above: the trees’ roots extend far, far below. And, beneath the little boat on the lake, the water may look calm - but there are so many fish swirling around under it.

Grandpa takes Finn on a journey of discovery of all the “beneath” places he can find in nature: a hollow tree containing nesting owls, the ground under rotting leaves which is feeding new life – demonstrating to Finn that it’s okay to have difficult feelings beneath our surfaces, too. And, sometimes, those feelings need to happen as part of the process towards something new and full of life.

This apparently simple, beautiful book (rather like Doerrfeld’s previous book The Rabbit Listened, which was part of the 2020 Empathy Lab collection of books) contains a profound message about looking beyond appearances and understanding that we all have stuff going on under the surface. It’s a gorgeous read, worded simply and effectively, and Doerrfeld’s soft, kind and heartwarming illustrations are perfect.

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