This is an achievement, for the story is more important than the excellent and evidently well authenticated background of Slovak life and spirit. Too often tales are thin and books published because of the picture given of other ways of life. This does both. The period is before Munich, but there is unrest and suspicion and surveillance in the air, giving it a contemporary feel. A lonely doctor takes into his home (and heart) two children, the orphan distant relative, Andrusik, whom he adopts, and small Fanya, who speedily discards the cotton wool in which her life had been spent and becomes a sturdy peasant village child. The organization of a children's band, and the adventures -- with their not too happy ending -- of the band and the contest forty miles away, make a good yarn, while the details of Slovak life are secondary.