Abandoned by his mother and father, now unmoored by his grandparents' death, eleven-year-old Paul leaves rural Wales for the suburban home of his previously unmet Aunt Jean, Uncle William, and cousin Joanna. Though Paul settles in unobtrusively, bringing his tame but voracious goat Davy proves disastrous: Davy destroys not only the Dawkes' garden, Uncle William's pride, but also those of their neighbors and the nearby traffic circle. After trying and failing to find Davy a more suitable home, Uncle William secretly has him killed, meanwhile telling Paul and Joanna that he did find the goat a new, distant home. When Paul learns the truth, he uproots his uncle's garden and flees back to his mountain home. Up to this point one feels for Paul--having so little, now confronting his uncle's obsessive orderliness, his aunt's ineffectual good intentions. But then there appears a flagrant deus ex machina in the person of the new tenant, retired Lord Justice Gilbert, who persuades Paul to accept the experiences in his life, not to look back but to add on--whereupon Paul discovers an injured hedgehog to take back to the Dawkes as a pet for the whole family. And since he eats garden pests, not gardens, Prickles is welcome. Credible characterization undermined by plot contrivance and a pat solution.