Gather Round

Gather Round
Age Range
Release Date
March 26, 2024
Buy This Book
New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award winner David Covell follows up Run Wild with a timely book about the importance of community and coming together.

Crackle. Crinkle. Sizzle. POP!
Listen to the fire talk.
It's telling us a story . . .

Since the magic and warmth of fire was discovered long ago, campfires have protected, aided, and inspired us. Perhaps most importantly, they've brought us together.

In this gorgeous picture book, a girl and her father build a campfire together to keep the cold at bay. But as they welcome passing travelers--from musicians to animals--they create a community, fostered by a crackling fire and its comforting warmth.

Written in sparkling, melodic prose, Gather Round is the perfect follow-up and companion to David Covell's New York Times Best Illustrated, Run Wild.

Editor review

1 review
A cozy vicarious camping trip
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
A little girl, her father, and their dog are out in the woods, preparing to make a fire. They gather rocks and tinder, find some sticks, and get everything ready. A match sets things in motion, and they watch the fire, imagining seeing a phoenix and a fox in the flames. It is dark outside, and a little scary; even a stomach growling seems like it might be wolves or something scarier! Once the fire is going, the two work on cooking a stew, which they then share with others who happen across their path. A little boy and his mother arrive with a guitar in tow, and when another family arrive, they all toast marshmallows and have a sing along. It's a long but tiring evening, and the next morning, the fire is doused and everyone goes on their way.

Good Points
Covell's collage style illustrations have lots of good details, and it's an effective medium for showing rocks, sticks, and the clothing of the campers. The father is especially charming, and his plaid shirt, hat, and boots have a 1950s feel to them that somehow reminded me of some of Richard Scarry's bunnies! Because this is set at night, there are lots of deep purples, umbers, and charcoal grays, with the orange and yellow of the fire popping against those hues.

The story is told in a poetic way, but is not quite in verse. Some lines rhyme, some don't, so it might be good to practice reading this out loud a couple of times if you want to read to a group so that you can get the cadence just right.

The last page has good information about building a fire safely and gathering around it. I like the idea that "a campfire is a living thing" that can grow, but must be carefully watched. I don't think I've ever heard fire safety described in quite this way.

I didn't grow up with camp fires, but if you are a fan of enjoying the great outdoors with them, this is a great book for preparing children to "gather round" with you. For very young readers, Rose's Camping 1 2 3 is a great board book to introduce the topic, and there are lots of camping books with popular characters like Amelia Bedelia and P.J. Funnybunny. There aren't as many literary books on the topic; the closet would probably be and James' and Judges' S is for S'Mores: A Camping Alphabet or Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by George and Kiesler.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account