Illustrations by Grant Silverstein
Ages 6 to adult
"Davey McGravy, Davey McGravy,
a name to conjure with,
to dream with by the cedar trees
out in the rainy woods."
In a misty, faraway-feeling "land of rain," Davey McGravy lives with his father and brothers, but mourns his missing mother. He follows the rhymes in his head into a forest of ferns, moss, and cedar trees where he meets animals wise and strange. A coaxing crow urges him onwards. A consoling peacock tells him that nothing is really lost. A fierce lioness frightens him. Following their voices, Davey travels deeper and deeper into the mysterious woods. Then he must find his way home, to a father who is sad but loving, and brothers who care for him no matter how they fight.
Caught between his forest-world and the world of school, shopping, and family life, Davey wanders his way through grief. With playful and evocative verse, poet David Mason delivers him back to his boyhood but leaves the mysteries of love intact. Full of humor and melancholy, Davey McGravy movingly captures the longing of a child for his lost mother.
"From his first full-length narrative poem, The Country I Remember, to his extraordinary verse novel, Ludlow, David Mason's ambition to expand the realm of narrative in contemporary verse has been central to his poetic project, even as successive collections revealed him as one of the best lyric poets of his generation. The latest proof of Mason's necessity, Davey McGravy, is both a vibrant celebration of language as play and the moving tale of how a young boy discovers, through heartbreaking loss, the transformative powers of the imagination. Children of all ages will delight in its song and story." —Charles Martin, author of Signs & Wonders
"[A]n ode to the contemplative child and a poignant rumination on the oft-unacknowledged loneliness of childhood."—5280: The Denver Magazine
"Across a series of poems, accompanied by early-Sendakesque etchings by artist Grant Silverstein, we meet a little boy named Davey McGravy living in the tall-treed forest with his father and brothers. A few tender verses in, we realize that Davey is caught in the mire of mourning his mother. Without invalidating the deep melancholy that has set in, Mason makes room for the mystery of life and death, inviting in the miraculous immortality of love...Only a rare poet can merge the reverence of Thoreau with the irreverence of Zorba the Greek to create something wholly unlike anything else — and that is what Mason accomplishes in Davey McGravy."—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
"Sometimes, it's in the landscape of grief that the soul is most unmoored. This tender and breathtaking child's poem—the story of a boy who mourns his mother's death, told in aching verse by the former poet laureate of Colorado—might illuminate a way toward healing."—Chicago Tribune
David Mason is the author of numerous books of poetry and the verse-novel Ludlow. He was poet laureate of Colorado from 2010 to 2014, and he now divides his time between Colorado and Oregon.
Grant Silverstein, the illustrator, specializes in etchings.
Also available as an ebook:
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Read an interview with David Mason in The Sun.
Listen to Ryan Warner interview David Mason on Colorado Public Radio.
Listen to David Mason read an excerpt from Davey McGravy (from Chapter 3, Davey Learns to Fly)