The story is a plea for conservation, ardent, conscientious, but not quite believable. When Dirk and Marni Jarus' family moved to their big old farmhouse, it was surrounded by a meadow and a thicket which were part of a decaying estate presided over by a frail, elderly lady. Michael, her gardener, explained to Dirk that the meadow had been a stopping place for Gypsies, and that the giant tree which dominated it had been used by the King of Gypsies as a peg for his saddle, and this had augmented the children's immediate fascination with the spot. First the thicket was replaced by a housing development, then, after the owner's death, the meadow and even the apparently indomitable tree, were destroyed for houses. Dirk and Marni cherished the wild plot of land; so did the children who moved into the first housing development. In fact they immediately looked with awe to Dirk as their leader because he knew the different parts of the meadow best, and when it was ruined they all helped in Dirk's project to plant whatever seedlings were left from the meadow in any vacant places all over the city. The single-minded enthusiasm and tenderness which the children share is so fervent it seems caricatured and their hushed, soulful way of speaking is a detriment to reader sympathy.