Posts Tagged ‘Phillis Gershator’

New York: Melanie Kroupa Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

With many thanks to Melanie Kroupa, and to Phillis Gershator.

Sky Sweeper is the story of Takeboki (say “tah-kay-bow-key” keeping the vowel sounds short and pure), a young man who takes up a simple job. As the Flower Keeper, he must sweep up the flowers that fall around a Japanese temple garden. Although urged by parents and an older brother to take up more promising work, and by a sister to settle down and raise a family, he stays with his task. As the story moves through seasons and years, he discovers many fine things doing his simple job, faithful to his calling regardless of advice and hardship. As he passes beyond this world, the people of the temple come to realize what they have hardly noticed, all these years. They also realize that they need a new Flower Keeper. In the meantime, Takeboki has found somewhere else that needs sweeping. The book concludes with a well-known Japanese haiku and its translation into English, which I’ll not give away here. The poem seems to take on new life in its new setting. (I may be somewhat prejudiced, since I did the translation of the poem, at Phillis’s request.)

Sky Sweeper would make an excellent gift for any young readers who would like to spend time in a variety of seasons during January’s cold days and nights.



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