Prolific people-watcher Robertson now spends a few days inside the head of Victoria Anne Tabor, age nine and perhaps one of the last surviving ""classic little girls."" Her daddy is a Methodist minister in today's Shaker Heights, basically humorless and miles from understanding his only child. Mommy's a little more on Victoria's wavelength--but still concerned over a daughter who dresses only in dresses, takes people at their flat-out word, and prefers (instead of friends) the talkative company of her toys and dolls: like Bear, her teddy, who used to be President of Harvard, and Bonnie, who dreams of being Dolly Parton. When Victoria is sassy to a teacher (for perfectly valid reasons) and is brought up for some parental discipline, Victoria starts feeling the squeeze: she's told to put away her fantasy world and tune in to the Sunday sermon phrases her father uses, like ""RESPONSIBILITY"" and ""REALITY. PASS IT ON."" Only her old grandfather seems to understand, plus a mysterious Sunday school teacher--and Victoria, after burying her toy friends in the sandbox, fights back and digs them up again. Robertson's point comes down the track as subtly as a locomotive--""What is the crime of possessing dreams that have a loving essence? that create loving identities? that enable us gently to survive?"" And the effect is awfully treacley. But Victoria pops out as a fairly real little girl, above and beyond all the authorial machinations; her charm and spine will keep you close.