Maria, a little Spanish girl in a California orphan asylum, wanted something of her own to love. She thought she had found this in a kitten, but Sister Gabriel explains that Maria would not be able to keep a pet. Not until a much younger orphan, a Chinese child, arrives does Maria get the chance to expend her store of pent-up affection. Maria ""adopts"" the child by lavishing tender, loving care on the frightened little one. This story can only be read in a tremulous tone. Aside from its over-obvious message about love, its presentation of the orphan as an object of pity is overheated and pity is not a simple matter. It can certainly be the most destructive of emotions for the recipient to bear. The illustrator owes a great deal to the Kokeshi doll, for all her figures have that big head, thin neck, look-alike quality.