April 22, 2024

Two Together

illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
Review by
Readers will love discovering a dog and cat’s moments of personality as they enjoy different aspects of their journey home in Two Together.
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Brendan Wenzel’s award-winning picture books (Every Dreaming Creature, A Stone Sat Still) invite readers to look carefully at every image. Two Together continues his exploration of perspective, this time through the eyes of a dog and a cat traveling home together. Two Together easily stands alone, but also fits as a companion to Wenzel’s They All Saw a Cat and Inside Cat. With simple rhymes and a rolling cadence, the text follows the animal friends as they walk through the woods, cross a stream and encounter other obstacles before arriving at their cozy home. Dog and cat enjoy different aspects of their journey—one two-page spread shows them caught in a rain shower (which dog appreciates while cat decidedly does not) before they are dried by a breeze and the warm sun (which cat loves and dog barely tolerates). The differences in their experiences are subtle, but readers will love discovering these moments of personality.

Wenzel further encourages close scrutiny through varying the art styles and media used. When readers first meet them, the dog and cat look very similar, both drawn in loose lines and muted shades as they walk toward a pond. But from the moment they see their reflections in the water, the picture book takes off, and for most of the book, the dog appears in a highly saturated, finger-paint style whereas the cat is drawn in scratchy lines of colored pencil. Sometimes a spread is fully divided, with the dog’s smeary boldness occupying the left and the cat’s sharp edges on the right. When they look at a bird, or a frog, or a bear, the creature is drawn as a composite of these contrasting styles. 

But when the dog and the cat look at each other, “two together face-to-face,” their appearances reverse. Suddenly, it is clear: The art is not representing what they look like, but how they see the world! 

While the rhymes aren’t always perfect, the simple sentences and descriptive words paired with vivid images will make Two Together excellent for developing readers.

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Two Together

Two Together

illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
ISBN 9781797202778

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