53 pages 1 hour read

Cynthia Kadohata


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2004

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Chapters 1-4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary

Five-year-old Katie Takeshima, the first-person narrator, is the younger sister of nine-year-old Lynn. The two sisters love one another deeply: Katie reveres Lynn, and Lynn will do anything Katie asks. One day, when the girls were lying near a country road and looking up at the sky, a dog came out of a cornfield and attacked Katie. Lynn saved her sister, but the dog then attacked her. Katie threw a milk bottle at the dog, which lapped up the spilled milk until Lynn got a hose and sprayed the dog to chase it away so it would not cut itself on the broken glass.

Katie’s family lives in Iowa, where her parents own an Asian grocery store that goes out of business. Using the money they saved up to buy a house, Katie’s father makes an arrangement with Uncle Katsuhisa, his brother, to come drive them to Georgia, where Uncle lives, so they can work in the poultry processing industry.

Katie’s mother is tiny, less than five feet tall, but she can be very stern and display a stony face. Katie’s father is six feet tall, very quiet, and introspective. Uncle is very loud, outgoing, and spontaneous in all his decisions. The girls consider Uncle an odd because he is so different from their dad.