Though both parents work, times are tight already; that's ""why we went to the sprinkler in summer instead of the lake, . . . why we have soupy things with lima beans [instead of] roast beef on Sunday,"" and especially why ""I"" (a small boy) can't have a dog. Then Daddy comes home early with news that he's lost his job. But that very day the little boy finds a cat, and his parents, crying, make ""a sandwich hug with me in the middle"" and say he can keep it. Despite her long-established easy way with street scenes, Hyman's pencil drawings partake of the drabness of the times; and her anguished family's ""sandwich hug"" is a heavy overstatement in harsh lines. Between the downward pull of the pictures and the bleakness of Dad's situation, the little boy's satisfaction with the cat (and even his naming the cat ""Dog""--the one light note) isn't enough to lift the general depression.