Emma enjoys her friends in the projects, but her family's three-bedroom apartment is too small and they can't have pets. She's tired of sharing a room with messy younger sister Janie; toddler brother Nick annoys her. Impatiently, she anticipates the day their savings will make her dream come true--a house where she can have a puppy. When her parents tell her there is going to be a new baby, her feelings are a mixture of excitement and disappointment as the dream recedes once again. At least the baby can share her room if they get bunk beds, but even that hope is dashed when her father says they can't afford it. Emma yells, ""I hate you!""; then a friend tells Emma about buying secondhand, and Emma tells her father. Later she writes him a loving note, and her parents tell her that they plan to get secondhand bunk beds. Baker sensitively portrays the ardent hopes, enthusiasms, and disappointments of a nine-year-old in this warm story of a loving working-class family reaching for the American dream. A welcome change from tales about upper-middle-class professionals.