Tomas Lorca was an eleven year old Puerto Rican boy who lived in the slummish Washington Market area of New York. He and his fourteen year old sister Fernanda stayed alone with their father, and when Mr. Lorca failed to return home after a couple of weeks, the concerned couple who acted as building superintendent wanted to notify Welfare. Welfare sounded threatening to the children, so they took a complicated cross-roof route to a deserted loft near-by and set up housekeeping. Fernanda was a shy girl who was too petrified ever to go outside, so Tomas was entirely responsible for making the rounds of the garbage to keep them stocked. The descriptions of the area and the people are clearly drawn from life, and the sordidness of the situation is balanced out with humorous incidents and the children's own sense of adventure. The story palls, however, as the condition is alleviated. Tomas meets a young woman who illustrates books, and who wants to use him as a model. She discovers the way the children are living, arranges a reasonable solution, and produces a psychiatrist brother who can help Fernanda. Tomas, although still a lively, bright boy starts to seem more idealized than real, and his sister's behavior doesn't seem consistent with her age. The writing is good and the story has many appealing features, but in the long run is not quite satisfying when its realities become near-fantasies.