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Zolfe is beginning to realize that her parents are secretly planning a major trip. And from the snatches of conversation she overhears, the little girl knows she will only be able to take the bare essentials. Sooner than anticipated and in utter confusion, Zolfe, her family and their friends must leave their homes and join a flood of people forced into exile. But they have nowhere to go. Against all odds, Zolfe manages to take Émil with her, a fish that was a present from her grandmother. Zolfe entrusts him to her best friend Maiy, and the fish becomes the only link between them. The girls' friendship even survives the hostility that divides their fathers. In response to the harshness of war, Zolfe takes refuge in her "dream vase," an imaginary haven where she can forget all her unanswered questions and be free.
The subtly toned, full-page watercolour pictures create a melancholy mood. Adopting a child's perspective, the illustrator has interpreted the text with flair. War is difficult to imagine, even for adults, but it is conjured convincingly in Janice Nadeau's images.