Saturday, June 5, 2021

Review: A Common Thirst by Gary Boelhower


by Gary Boelhower
Illustrated by Sarah Brokke
Beaver's Pond Press
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

This is the story of the goats who rule the mountains and the sheep who rule the plains, separate lands that keep them apart. Only when they experience a terrible drought that turns their streams to dust do they decide to journey to each other’s land in search of water. They meet in the foothills and soon recognize that they share a common thirst that is threatening their lives. Will they learn to see beyond their differences to survive?




With the flair of a fable, beautiful illustrations combine with a intriguing tale to create an important message.

The goats live in the mountains, while the sheep live on the plain. They seem to form two worlds which never really have anything to do with the other. When a drought leaves both without water and food, they swallow their pride and journey to meet each other, hoping the other group can offer what they need to survive. But when neither has anything, and no solution is in sight, a strange miracle more than one way.

The illustrations in this one are bright and bold, and beautifully done. It's a treat simply to gaze through these and enjoy the tale without the words. In other words, it's a book young listeners will pick up on their own and flip through time and again.

The story comes across with the style of a traditional fable. The writing flows poetically, and while it might not be one for the youngest listener, those ages four and up will have no trouble with the vocabulary or wording. It's the type of read which works great as a group read aloud or to snuggle together in a chair and enjoy.

And there's a message, which isn't surprising since this does resemble a fable. I enjoyed that it involved 'baby' goats and sheep, since these are not only endearing, cute animals (especially to kids) but also give them something to relate to and connect with. It's a wonderful message and comes across smoothly, gently and clearly.

And here they are...

The Author...

Gary Boelhower is Professor Emeritus at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota where he continues to teach courses in health humanities and religious studies. He is an award-winning teacher, writer and poet whose career has focused on wise decision-making and values-based leadership. Boelhower’s recent books for adults include Mountain 10: Climbing the Labyrinth Within, Choose Wisely: Practical Insights from Spiritual Traditions, Naming Rites: Poems and Marrow, Muscle, Flight: Poems which won the Midwest Book Award.



The Illustrator...

Sarah Brokke has garnered numerous awards for her widely exhibited work. She is the Director of the Art Program and the Community Mural Initiative at The College of St Scholastica. She has created large-scale collaborative murals with schools and non-profit organizations. Her exhibition “Portrait of an Artist” which honored artists who had a positive impact on her work resulted in a book Portrait of an Artist: Paintings by Sarah M. Brokke published by Holy Cow! Press. Visit

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