Flags

Overview

I will take care of your garden, Mr. hiroshi," I offered.

He smiled. "That would give me great comfort, Mary," he said. "The koi are greedy, you know. Do not let them get fat."

We watched the bus drive away.

For Mary, too young to fully understand about war and far-off places, the promise was meant to last only until Mr. Hiroshi came back. But after a while it was clear the her friend wouldn't be coming home. ...

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Overview

I will take care of your garden, Mr. hiroshi," I offered.

He smiled. "That would give me great comfort, Mary," he said. "The koi are greedy, you know. Do not let them get fat."

We watched the bus drive away.

For Mary, too young to fully understand about war and far-off places, the promise was meant to last only until Mr. Hiroshi came back. But after a while it was clear the her friend wouldn't be coming home. Still, Mary faithfully kept her word all through that long summer. And when the new people came to live in Mr. Hiroshi's house, she knew exactly what to do.

Once more, Maxine Trottier takes a small piece of a larger story, nurtures it with care, and grows a tale as elegant as a Japanese Garden. Flags is a simple story of innocence and friendship set against a backdrop of fear and suspicion. A story that must be told and told again--but never allowed to recur.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-While visiting her grandmother on the Pacific coast, Mary becomes friendly with a neighbor, Mr. Hiroshi, who shares his wonderful garden with her. She has never seen a garden that includes sand, moss, graveled paths, stepping stones, and a small pond stocked with koi. Surrounding the pond are small blue irises her grandmother calls flags, which give the story its name. The first hint that the story takes place in the 1940s comes when Mary's grandmother reads in the newspaper that Japanese people are being removed from their homes and sent to camps. Soon, soldiers take Mr. Hiroshi away. When his house is sold, Mary and her grandmother release the koi into a river and the child takes a flat stone and two iris bulbs. Once home, she begins her own garden with them. The glowing, gorgeous paintings command so much attention that they almost overshadow the story. Morin uses color and texture to portray the beauty of the natural setting. Unfortunately, the illustrations give no sense of the period. An author's note gives background information about the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. Flags addresses its tragic subject subtly, and children are likely to have a lot of questions. Consider using it in conjunction with other picture books about this topic that include more historical background, such as Eve Bunting's So Far from the Sea (Clarion, 1998), Yoshiko Uchida's The Bracelet (Philomel, 1993), and Ken Mochizuki's Baseball Saved Us (Lee & Low, 1993). For older students, pair it with a nonfiction title such as Jerry Stanley's I Am an American (Crown, 1994).-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780773731363
  • Publisher: Stoddart Kids
  • Publication date: 5/1/1999
  • Pages: 27
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.51 (w) x 11.42 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

A prolific writer and educator, Maxine Trottier makes history come alive in picture books and novels for young readers. Her award-winning titles include Claire's Gift, which won the Mr. Christie's Book Award, The Paint Box, and Prairie Willow. Born in Michigan, Maxine is a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S. and makes her home in Port Stanley, Ontario.

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