Former Colorado poet laureate David Mason’s Davey McGravy is an ode to the contemplative child and a poignant rumination on the oft-unacknowledged loneliness of childhood. This children’s poetry book takes place in “the land of rain” where “water [falls] and mosses [cling] to the rocks like love.”

The eponymous Davey McGravy—a nickname given to him by his forlorn and resilient father—is an old soul. Forced to navigate life as a middle child after the loss of his mother, Davey takes comfort in the depths of his vibrant imagination and the forests beyond his yard. Mason’s verses are intimate and nurturing, often addressing the reader as “love,” while he relays the woes and rediscovered joys of Davey’s life after his mother’s death. Mason’s frolicsome verse captures Davey’s everyday, from joyous moments of rolling down hills and dreams of flying, to the more sorrowful false sightings of his mother and encounters with bullies.

Accompanied by Grant Silverstein’s fluid etchings, Davey McGravy transcends cloying portrayals of loss. This lyrical collection of poems sees Davey McGravy through his grief, delivering him gently back into the realm of boyhood over the course of its 109 sincere pages. Intended to be read aloud to “children and adult children,” this rhymic contemplation of youth and heartache is likely to instill compassion in all who partake.

Davy McGravy comes out Tuesday, March 17. You can buy it at City Stacks Books & Coffee, and all Tattered Cover locations.