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Author:  Crescent Dragonwagon
Illustrator:  Jerry Pinkney

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This is a book for those who love to imagine, for those who love to make up their own story.

For what started out as a simple family hike became a mental journey back in time.  In the quietness of the woods, the family has stumbled upon a field of bright golden daffodils, then a stone chimney, where surely a house once stood.  Intrigued, they begin to dig in the dirt around the old foundation.  Unearthing a round blue glass marble, a horseshoe, a piece of a plate, and a china doll’s arm, their minds begin to wander. . . imagine. . .

Listen. Can you listen, back,  far back?

 But listen back and hear a man’s voice, scratchy-sweet, singing “Amazing Grace,” a rocking chair squeaking, creaking on a porch. . .

If you look, you can almost see them: the boy at dusk, scratching in the dirt with his stick, the girl, upstairs, combing out her long, long, hair. . .

Along with the few broken remnants found in the dirt, all that remains to tell you that a family was ever there is a single rotted almost-gone piece of rope swaying on a black walnut tree limb.  Yet in that quiet place, honeysuckle vines still flourish, deer and raccoons and squirrels live happily, and bright golden daffodils come up to trumpet their good news forever.

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1.  Can you explain what is happening when the family “hears” the old man’s voice and “sees” the boy and girl?

2.  Have you ever found something special buried in the dirt and wondered how it got there?  That would be a great “small moment” to write about!

Mary Byrne Kline
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