Nine-year-old Kelly O'Brien has a learning disability. (Smith doesn't name it here but labelers might call him minimally brain damaged, perceptually or neurologically impaired, etc.) He can't read, can't write his letters, can't--to his father's dismay--play ball, and he hates the balancing and shape-tracing exercises that have been assigned to help his coordination. He does enjoy messing around at the creek though, and knows a lot about the marsh creatures he finds there, and he gains some status at school--and makes some progress in his exercises--after Philip, a college student making a biotic study of the marsh, suggests that he share his knowledge with his class. Kelly's helpless unhapiness about his failures and his sensitivity to vibrations of dissatisfaction from his parents is projected with understanding, but true as it rings this is too slight to stand as a story and the obvious intent to deal with a problem predominates. One wonders how handicapped children without an equivalent of Kelly's knowledge of biology could be consoled; perhaps, though, Kelly will stir up some sympathy among normal children for others like him.