A beautifully told story of the white table which is set for one person, one who will not be attending dinner. This table is set in many home across the country and in every mess hall in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corp since the Vietnam War ended. It is set for those men and women who are Missing in Action or Prisoners of War. Each item on the table is symbolic, a lemon slice and grains of sand for a soldier’s bitter fate and the tears of their families, a white candle for peace and a red rose for our hope in their return. This is the story of a little girl who learns the meaning of the table from her mother and her Uncle John who served in Vietnam.
Margot Theis Raven’s words are powerful. In just a few short pages, she delivers the message of ‘a little white table’ and what it means to thousands of Americans. Look carefully at each page, on several spreads are the lines to the first verse of ‘America – My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ written in ghost-like print across the text and illustrations.
Mike Benny leaves images in our minds just as powerful as the words. You can see the love and pride, sorrow and pain in the faces of the characters. The images of Vietnam are done in sepia color and transport the reader to another day and age.
This is one of my favorite books celebrating Veterans’ Day. I like to read it for just about any patriotic holiday. But if you’re like me, you won’t be able to read it with dry eyes.