The author of Devil's Donkey (1981) returns to the town of Coven Tree with another entertaining tale of magic and transformation. This time Brittain makes good use of the ""Monkey's Paw"" motif as general-store owner Stew Meat (christened Stewart Meade) tells of three fool young people whose wishes come disastrously true. Stew Meat himself has been drawn into the Wish Giver's tent at the Coven Tree Church Social, fascinated by the stranger's oddly glowing eyes. Once inside, he finds that three others have paid their 50Â¢, in return for which they are granted one wish each and advised to take time and care in making them, as the Wish Giver will never return. Well, first eleven-year-old Polly Kemp, unpopular because of her vicious tongue, wishes folks would smile when they see her. They smile all right, but she doesn't, when it transpires that every time she says a mean word she's condemned for the next hour or so to croak JUG-A-RUM! like a frog. Equally amusing and more terrible is the story of Rowena Jervis, 15, who wishes sweet-talking traveling salesman Henry Piper would ""put down roots right here in Coven Tree""--then watches in horror as he turns into a sycamore tree in her backyard. Poor Adam Fiske, 16, wishes for water ""all over"" his family's drought-stricken farm--with predictable consequences. It is Stew Meat's unused wish that saves all three, and they are all left better off after all in character or fortune. Brittain's knack for old-fashioned, funny-scary storytelling makes this another playfully atmospheric tale of strange doings in yesterday's New England.