The Summer My Father Was Ten

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A father tells his son the story of how he damaged a neighbor's garden when he was a boy and what he did to make amends.

A father tells his son the story of how he damaged a neighbor's garden when he was a boy and what he did to make amends.

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A father tells his son the story of how he damaged a neighbor's garden when he was a boy and what he did to make amends.

A father tells his son the story of how he damaged a neighbor's garden when he was a boy and what he did to make amends.

Read More Show Less

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: 9/28/1999
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 105,490
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: NC1040L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.72 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Pat Brisson is a winner of a Christopher Award for The Summer My Father Was Ten and has written a number of books for children. She lives in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

Pat Brisson is the author of Benny's Pennies, the Kate books, Hot Fudge Hero, and Wanda's Roses, an American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists."

Andrea Shine is the illustrator of Big Band Sound and The Faraway Drawer, both by Harriett Diller. She lives in Southampton, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2001

    A book that teaches an imprtant lesson about helping others.

    This story is told by a little girl about the summer her father turned ten. He and his friends wrecked a neighbor's garden while they were playing one day. Afterwards, the man was very sad and the boy felt bad. Then he helped his neighbor grow a new garden. At first the boy felt he had to help the man, then he liked helping the man. He felt glad that he was helping the man. I liked this book because it reminded me of when my family and me grew a garden. And it reminded me if you do something to hurt someone's feelings you should makeup for it. You should check this book out of your library if you want to learn about helping.

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