Amy's painful separation from her mother is soothed by a budding friendship with Crystal and her brother Raymond in this idealized story of one girl's summer. Amy has always been a ""mama's girl"" who misses her mother terribly, a starfish missing an arm. During her summer stay at the beach with sock-doll fanatic Great-aunt Jenny, Amy is determined to be brave, to deal with her homesickness, and to try to make new friends. Crystal, who lives next door, snubs her every effort, belittling her for not knowing how to ride a bike, and for knowing sidewalk games from the city, instead of beach games, such as tickle bottom and poke the jelly. Only blind old Mr. Fine, who stands out among a cast of overly agreeable adults, really understands Amy. When Amy enlists Crystal and Raymond to help her steal socks from the line to cure her great-aunt's ""sock doll block,"" she lands them in trouble. This tame sequence of events, glimpsed in realistic black-and-white illustrations, is brought to a candy-coated close when Amy rides a bike without training wheels. Its' unfortunate that Amy's independence and bravery comes only to gain Crystal's approval; the greater problem is that in presenting an interracial friendship (Crystal and Raymond are African-American), the author smooths over personalities to the point of blandness.