Folk musician Janey Little and her gabby grandfather, the Gaffer, are custodians of The Little Country, a mysterious book with magical powers--a book that the megalomaniac mystic/psychic John Madden will do anything to lay his hands on. And soon Mousehole, the Cornish fishing village where Janey and the Gaffer live, is crawling with Madden's agents--including a femme fatale and assassin/torturer Michael Bett. Meanwhile, in the book, young Jodi and her alchemist uncle Denzil suffer the attentions of an evil witch, the Widow Pender, who transforms Jodi into a six-inch-high Small and confines her in a glass box along with a companion, Edern, a clockwork robot inhabited by the soul of a seal. In fairly predictable and decidedly overstuffed style, Janey and the Gaffer grapple with Bert and Madden while Jodi and Denzil confront the Widow. Unfortunately, de Lint (Jack the Giant Killer, 1987) soon loses control of the details, which in any case remain unevocative and lifeless, and the moralizing undertone merely irritates. The upshot is a doughy, hectoring, and rather charmless ramble.