Tistou, the Boy with Green Thumbs

Tistou, the Boy with Green Thumbs

Book rating: 05 Hardback Children's Classics

By (author) Maurice Druon


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  • Publisher: Hawthorn Press Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 210mm x 16mm | 358g
  • Publication date: 13 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Stroud
  • ISBN 10: 1907359087
  • ISBN 13: 9781907359088
  • Illustrations note: colour illustrations
  • Sales rank: 236,345

Product description

When eight-year-old Tistou is sent home from school his parents decide he shall learn from real life instead, and where better to start than gardening? With Moustache the dreamy gardener, Tistou discovers a remarkable gift - that he has green thumbs! Everything he touches sprouts beautiful plants. Now Tistou has lots to do. With the power of flowers he can change everything: prisons, slums, hospitals - even war.

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Author information

French author 1918 - 2009

Customer reviews

By Camilla Marstrand 15 Feb 2012 5

This was my favorite book as a child and I 'm so glad to see it will be back in print. I do hope this edition has the same beautiful b/w line drawings.

The story is original and moving. Good for all of us who know a child who - like Tistou - doesn't seem to fit into a regular school day. The essence of the story is something simple and yet dreamlike. Tistou's sensibility and non-violent messages can best be said with flowers.

When I was a young reader I came back to this book again and again, and I have since bought it in french and english. But they're hard to come by, and I'm so glad to now be able to buy this book as gifts.

The story: (lots of spoilers)

Tistou applies his hidden talent - the green thumbs - to make the world a better place, a secret effort supported by his best friend the pony Gymnast, and his mentor the gardener Moustache.

He recreates the tropical vegetation that the zoo animals know from back home and lifts the spirits of the caged animals. Visiting the slums in town he turns them into fantastic blooming neighborhoods overnight. And he stops a war with flowers, thus threatening to put an end to the pride of the town: the booming weapons factory. But Tistou bravely confesses that it is he who has made flowers appear in cannons and hawthorn and thistles on the seats of the jeeps. The factory production is changed to flowers, and the town booms again.

Then Moustache dies and Tistou is confused by all the different explanations he hears; Moustache has gone on a long journey, he has gone to sleep, he is in heaven, he is in the graveyard - and not content with these answers Tistou tries to bring back Moustache by inventing new exotic flower species, and finally growing a ladder of two trees and steps made from a blue-flowered climber weaving beween the tall trees. The ladder grows so high into the sky that it disappears in the clouds. So, Tistou reasons, Moustache, if he's up there, will have a way to come back down. When this doesn't happen Tistou climbs in search of him and gets wrapped in a large soft cloud, which reminds him of Moustaches big white mustache.
Meanwhile the pony Gymnast grazes in a script pattern in the meadow below the trees, and creates a final message in yellow flowers, "Tistou was an Angel".