Daniel, who is only 11, is in a hospital dying of cancer. He tells of his thoughts, his memories, his hopes, his observations, his pain. His father, who died four years ago, sometimes ""visits,"" saying that the ordeal will soon be over and they'll be together again; his mother sits beside him, knitting and often weeping. Three birds also appear; the blue one, Victor, tells Daniel that he is like a bud on the cherry tree outside the window: the transformation to blossom may be painful, but then there is new lite; the bird also tells Daniel about the golden bird who will come for him when it is time. After the lovely tree blooms, the golden bird carries Daniel and his father away from pain and weariness, up toward the light of the sun. This brief novel by Stolp, a Dutch pastor who worked for years with hospitalized children, portrays the sensations and emotions of a seriously ill child authentically and with compassion. Daniel's mystical experiences are beautifully described, without sentimentality, conveying a nonsectarian aura of hope and peace. In the right setting, a valuable book for discussion. Postma's quiet, tender b&w illustrations are perfectly in tune with the text.