In a graceful, well-honed style that recalls folk literature, the story of a Thumbelina-sized girl. Though the farmer and his wife have given up wishing for a daughter, their son yearns for a little sister. All three are enchanted, then, when one springs from an apple seed, but they're also overprotective: they bell the cat and keep Little Sister safe indoors. Undaunted, Little Sister quietly makes friends with the cat and escapes the house, following her brother on errands; the third time, hiding in his pocket, she helps him get a good price for the heifer he's selling, serves as his conscience when he dawdles too long in town, gets him home in time to rescue their animals from a sudden flood, and proves that, as their father says, ""the wide world may be no place for either of you alone. . .but together you do very well."" Blegvad's realistically detailed, finely crosshatched, delicately tinted illustrations and the book's small, square format are just right for this charming modern fable about a sensible, assertive character earning her right to freedom and responsibility.