A schoolgirl finds a friend when she needs one in this sensitive, well-crafted story, winner of the German State Prize for Young Adult Literature in 1987. When Julia comes home from school, she finds her parents out and her beloved grandmother, Oma, in bed, uncharacteristically silent. Is she breathing? Despite Oma's faint snore, Julia isn't sure. Going out to do some errands as requested in a note Oma has left, she encounters Chubby, a classmate she has previously scorned, and shares her fears with him; to her surprise, he turns out to be a good listener with a gift for saying the right thing. During the afternoon, the two visit Julia's grand-father's grave and Chubby's secret hideaway, sharing confidences about their families. By the time they return to find Oma cheerfully awake, they are fast friends. Julia works through her anxiety in an atmosphere of calm reassurance, created by the author's well-translated conversational style and strengthened by the understated sketches used as chapter heads. A warm, engaging story with deftly drawn characters who are both likable and believable.