The Summer My Father Was Ten

The Summer My Father Was Ten

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by Pat Brisson, Andrea Shine
     
 

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Every year my father and I plant a garden. Tomatoes, peppers, onions, marigold, and zinnias grow in neat, straight rows...and every spring my father tells me about Mr. Bellavista and the summer my father was ten. -From the book. That was the summer the boy lost a baseball under a tomato plant in Mr. Bellavista's garden. And someone tossed a tomato back instead of

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Overview

Every year my father and I plant a garden. Tomatoes, peppers, onions, marigold, and zinnias grow in neat, straight rows...and every spring my father tells me about Mr. Bellavista and the summer my father was ten. -From the book. That was the summer the boy lost a baseball under a tomato plant in Mr. Bellavista's garden. And someone tossed a tomato back instead of the baseball. A lively battle took place, which seemed like great fun at the time, but in the end Mr. Bellavista's garden had been destroyed. In a touching story of one boy's efforts to make amends, we see the rebuilding of a garden and the forming of a relationship across generations. With luminous, beautifully detailed watercolors, the artist has captured both the sadness and the quiet joy woven throughout the tale.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
A father and his daughter are preparing their garden and, as he does every spring, Dad tells the story of the year he was ten and what happened to Mr. Bellavista's garden. He and his friends were playing baseball and the ball landed near Mr. Bellavista's tomatoes. Yielding to an impulse, Dad threw a tomato instead of the ball back to his friend. What ensued was the tossing and smashing of all the vegetables in the garden, much to the dismay of Mr. Bellavista. The young lad feels remorse, but just doesn't know how to make it up. When spring comes the next year, he works with Mr. Bellavista to create a new garden and ends up cultivating a friend. The story is set in an immigrant neighborhood with the people and city surroundings masterfully depicted in watercolors-a period piece with a timeless message.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2Every spring a girl and her father plant their garden. This shared time is, in turn, the catalyst for the man to recount once again the summer he was 10, a story readers hear through the words of his daughter. He had a neighbor who carefully tended his garden through the day and listened to opera music in the evening. A game of baseball that her father and his friends were playing turned into an afternoon of destruction when the ball landed in the garden and led to the boys throwing every tomato, onion, and pepper that they could get their hands on. The neighbor could only ask, "Why?" The child's father said he was remorseful and volunteered to help the old man the next summer, leading to a long friendship and his own love of gardening. Full-page watercolors depict a quaint seaside village while jeans and sneakers worn by the daughter set the story in the present day. Unfortunately, the faces are not well illustrated and the aftermath of the ruin of the garden seems a bit too impressionistically genteel. Teachers looking for a supplemental title on facing the consequences of one's behavior may find this useful, but it's unlikely to get requests for repeated readings.Susan Pine, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A careless, destructive act leads to lifelong friendship and a family tradition in this moving, stunningly illustrated story. Every spring when a father takes his daughter out to plant tomatoes, peppers, onions, marigolds, and zinnias in the yard, he tells her about the time when, in a few moments one August afternoon, he and his friends ruined the similar garden old Mr. Bellavista had planted in an empty lot. Stung with remorse, the boy watches Mr. Bellavista silently clean up the wreckage, and next April helps him plant a new garden, care for it, and enjoy its harvest. Mr. Bellavista is gone, but his memory is still part of each year's garden. Equally adept at both the freestyle brushwork of a Stephen Gammell and the light-drenched precision of a Ted Lewin, Shine places her figures in gracefully aging, neatly kept urban and suburban landscapes, capturing nuances of color, expression, and body language as well as the beauty and bounty of tiny, lovingly tended gardens (in the city, water is toted in a bucket from apartments). Brisson (Hot Fudge Hero, 1997, etc.) gives her characters plainspoken, unsentimental, distinct voices in this fine story of intergenerational friendship. (Picture book. 7-9)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781563978296
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
09/28/1999
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
103,381
Product dimensions:
8.72(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.13(d)
Lexile:
NC1040L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 7 Years

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