De Young weaves this heartwarming Depression-era episode around a true family story. When Margo Bandini, 11, learns that her family is about to lose their home, she takes advantage of a class assignment to write a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, enclosing her father's medal from WWI and asking for help. Writing in a smooth, unornamented style, the author fleshes out the tale with an extended hunt for Margo's missing little brother Charlie that teaches her not to prejudge the hoboes who pass through town; provides a light dusting of background information about the Great Depression's causes and effects through Margo's reading of newspapers; slips in a surprise--Margo's fifth-grade teacher, Miss Dobson, and her favorite journalist, E.D. Kirby, turn out to be one and the same; and ends on a happy note--the Bandinis get to keep their house after the local bank manager gets a call from the White House. The plot turns in plausible directions, and readers will find amiable characters here, as well as a clear picture of the time's anxieties and hardships.