When Ellen's family moved to Columbus in 1916 she knew that her cousin Hetty's family would move next door three weeks later. That was the way it had always been and Ellen had grown up in bossy Hetty's shadow. The story moves through the three short weeks in which Ellen starts to establish a personality of her own in a new neighborhood. The incidents are unified by Ellen's determined efforts at an easily adapted and amusing wish game. Every time she sees a white horse, it has to be counted along with a ritual chant. When the figure reaches 100, she is to walk around the block without stopping and find something. Just before the advent of Hetty, Ellen finds Mindy. The pace is easy, the story warmly real in its household and neighborhood detail, and a natural for girls at this age level who are consciously making their first step into the world when they make their first friend outside the family.