As in The Diddakoi (1972), Rumer Godden lavishes considerable skill on an excessively sentimental story. Here eight-year-old Selina, who can't do anything right, rescues mean, reclusive old Mr. McFadden (by enlisting her pony to pull a huge rock off his foot), then comes in each day to cook and care for him until he is back in shape. Later her friend Tim, a caravan child neglected by his slovenly aunt, accompanies her, and when stubborn old McFadden won't sell the village of Menook some land for a park, the local children turn on his friends, Selina and Tim. It's the danger to them that causes McFadden to give away the land (having sworn that he'd never sell it), and in the end not only is Tim jointly adopted by Selina's parents (who have the cozy home) and Mr. McFadden (who has the money), but the old man is paraded around on shoulders at the park opening. Godden's unmistakable Scottish setting and dialect help cut the sweetness for a while, but by the end it's become thicker than the fog on a Menook Halloween.