This gentle picture book written by Edwina Wyatt, and illustrated by Lucia Masciullo, tells the story of Pig and Goat who live together in an orchard. The two animals enjoy long, lazy days in each other’s company. They provide each other with support, and vow that they’ll stay together always. The day eventually comes, however, when Goat feels the need to leave and the two animals have to face the prospect of living apart.
Using simple but lively illustrations with soothing, muted colours, Masciullo evokes a stylised natural world, moving the reader from day to night and through fields and woodlands with the characters. Pig and Goat are shown happily together, then in their respective environments. It is there that they learn to cope on their own – tapping into skills each taught the other, as well as their fond memories for comfort.
The hardcover book is attractively designed with a mix of double-spread and vignette images, and colour-washed endpapers. With its simple language and a reassuring repetition throughout, Together Always would make a pleasant bedtime story for younger children. Although it touches on more challenging ideas of individuality and diversity in needs and interests, it is thoroughly infused with the comforting notion that wherever they are, good friends can always be together in each other’s thoughts.
Reviewed by J Wishart