Young Daniel and his family live in a log cabin high on a Tennessee mountain. Whenever Daniel has time, he carves things out of wood. First he makes a beautiful dish for his mother. Then he tries a cup and a spoon. But Daniel wants to create realistic animals just like the famous woodcarver who lives in the valley. All winter long after supper, Daniel sits in front of the warm fireplace with his knife and a large piece of wood. He is working on a duck to sell at the spring fair in the valley.
Today is Gregory's ninth and so far his very worst birthday. He isn't having a party or even a cake. His father has another job, so the family must move across town. When Gregory walks into a strange house that night, however, he finds a room of his own where he can hang his paintings. Maybe this is really his best birthday! But the very next day Uncle Max comes to stay. He sleeps in Gregory's room and even hangs posters over the paintings.
Uncle Pancho isn't really anybody’' uncle, but he's everybody's friend. He is also a good storyteller. All the neighborhood children love to hear him talk about growing up in a beautiful place called Mexico. Now Uncle Pancho is about to lose his house. The state wants to tear it down to make room for a new freeway.
When young Pablo is given some poppy seeds, he dreams of spreading color and beauty throughout his dusty Mexican village. Daring to enter Old Antonio's walled yard to plant the seeds, he is chased away with angry words and a stick. The stingy old man thinks Pablo has come to steal his precious spring water. Poor Pablo becomes sick from staying too long in the hot sun and cannot leave his bed. Meanwhile, the seeds he dropped by the spring have grown into beautiful red poppies.