No high school creative writer would get away with Jewell's pathetic-fallacious opening: the lilac bush is ready to bloom and ""even the lilacs know it's time for Uncle Joe."" But Uncle Joe is not coming this year. Although ""the fat green bush has not forgotten Uncle Joe,"" it is clear that Uncle Joe is dead. Through spring (tulips) and summer (rambling roses) and fall (marigolds) the little girl who tells this remembers Uncle Joe, who called her ""Princess"" or ""the lilac Princess""--and who ""will be here with me again. . . when I press my face against the fat, purple [lilac] clusters."" Sandin illustrates this maudlin elegy with unappealing pictures that range from dreary to harsh to goopy.