The miracle of Helen Keller is that so much has been written about her and something remains to be said. From this full-length study, which is affecting without being maudlin, detailed without being plodding, comes a person first, a public personality second. She was remarkable for her perceptivity as an infant; sullen and intractable after her illness; resentful at first of Anne Sullivan's discipline, and then insatiable in her discovery of the world: of tadpoles, the ocean spray (""who put salt in the sea?""), trees, mountains; of color (and ""what color is think?); of the circus and of Christmas. Miss Bigland balances the achievements and the disappointments (especially the accusation of plagiarism), the early years of learning (culminating in graduation from Radcliffe) with the later years of writing, lecturing, living--sometimes--as a curiosity. The portrait matches its subject perhaps more in grace (of mind) than in vigor (of attitude) but it is the most complete, most direct delineation for the early adolescent girl. And it works just right.