In her second book for young readers, Marshall portrays a father and son learning to build a family on their own. Robin Lazarus's mother has just died after a long illness; Belle, his father's sister, has been taking care of them and staying with Robin when Mr. Lazarus, a teacher, performs with his band on weekends. Now Belie is getting married, and Robin, worried that their house may be sold, can't seem to get through to his preoccupied father. Soon after the wedding, the new babysitter leaves Robin alone. He takes matters into his own hands and sets out, with his cat and parakeet, to take a bus to Belle's home. On the way, he shellers from a rainstorm in an abandoned house, where he nearly dies when wreckers arrive in the morning. His father is shocked into understanding Robin's needs. The believable African-American characters here are victimized by flat writing padded with unselective detail. A satisfying story that might have been more involving if it had been shorter.