In an unsensational but genuinely congenial little adventure, eight-year-old Adella and her neighbor Rhoda, almost ten, spend two days alone in Adella's farmhouse (the parents of each girl believing their daughter safe with the other) during the blizzard of 1850. Adella is from Chicago and according to Rhoda, she doesn't know a thimbleful about farmin'; what's worse the cows must be brought to the barn though Adella can't take another step through the snow, a path has to be shovelled to the woodpile, there's nothing to eat but a few crusts and apples, and she finds Rhoda a most hatefully annoying girl. The Stranger in the Storm is a runaway slave who hides in the barn, frightening the girls at first because his pursuers have told them that black men eat little girls, but winning them over with milk from the cows, wood for the fire, and corn and instructions for hominy. Tall Tom disappears before the storm is over and to Adella's subsequent inquiries as to whether he could make it to Canada, her father answers: ""During your life a lot of people will come and go. . . . That's life. You can't hold on to everybody."" But Adella hopes that she can hold on to Rhoda ""for a long, long time,"" and readers who have followed the course of their increasingly good-natured bickering during the storm will know why. It's all recreated with homely detail and an unpretentiousness that alleviates the conclusion's lack of subtlety.