Upon their father’s death, Tess and her younger brother, Axel, leave New York for their grandparents’ home in Finland, where they learn that a bear they both saw is the spirit of their mother, the strange man with her is the keeper of souls, and he wants Axel, already plagued with the disease that killed their mother, to replace him.
When Tom wishes winter would never end, he meets another boy who shares his love of snow and ice. Playing together every day, Tom doesn’t care that spring hasn’t come, until he realizes the terrible effect the unending winter is having on his sick grandmother. When he realizes his friend is Winter’s child, he knows they must say good-bye if the seasons are ever to change.
Rani spends a day at the beach and wants to take back a gift for her grandmother. She finds many things on the sand: a feather, a slipper, flowers, even a starfish.
Tata Gus teaches his grandson Aaron how to use natural healing remedies, and in the process helps the members of his family and his neighbors.
Leo wants no part of sitting down with his family to eat Nonna’s big, delizioso lunch every Sunday. “I’m not hungry,” he insists. Not hungry? Hmm. Clever Nonna gets an idea. She’ll use a story to lure Leo to her table. And since the pasta in her soup, called stelline (little stars), is woven into the story about a boy who journeys to his grandmother’s at night, it works. But again on the following Sunday, Leo doesn’t want to eat. So Nonna expands her story, this time adding some chiancaredde (paving stones), the name of the pasta she’s serving that day, to create a path for her character to follow. Now Leo’s hooked.
When a phantom elephant turns up uninvited and starts getting a little girl into trouble, she has no idea how to make him go away. But her grandmother happens to have a menagerie of phantom pets herself, so she knows just who to go to for help?
Mia’s family members, from her brother to her grandparents, try all they can think of to get her to stop sucking her thumb. Illustrations are cut-paper collage.
Osa’s grandmother tells her a tale about the sins of pride and helps Osa gain a better perspective on what things are important.
Marcolino hates practicing his scales on the piano, but feels he must because he is the reason his mother never became a grand pianist–until his grandfather lets them both in on a little secret.