A charming and evocative story within a story, exploring themes of wartime resourcefulness, local history, friendship, and the reverberations of the past in the present day.
On a beautiful spring day in Victoria’s James Bay neighbourhood, eight-year-old Esther takes a walk with her great-grandfather on his birthday. On the same street and the same date, but seventy-five years earlier, two enterprising young boys go door to door offering to give people’s fences a fresh coat of paint so that they can earn a few extra cents in an era of wartime austerity.
These parallel timelines converge as Esther’s great-grandfather pauses to show her an old fence with multi-coloured layers of peeling paint. He recognizes the avocado-green layer that he painted with his friend one spring day, way back in 1945—an unforgettable birthday that ended up being V-E Day, when the Allies defeated the Nazis in World War II. Through whimsical illustrations and vivid characters, this simple story shows how a pivotal event in history affects ordinary people and brings generations closer together.