When lonely Crocodile Gene advertises for friends in the paper, a nondescript animal named Floptop and a little girl named Gall respond. The three of them are so satisfied with their newly formed friendship, they decide to match up all the lonely souls in the world. It's no easy task finding companions for characters as lacking in personality as the ones presented by Uspensky (The Little Warranty People, p. 709, etc.). A monkey who has difficulty talking, a bully who is failing in school, and a giraffe who loses friends in holes are among the many applicants. Floptop suggests building a ""House of Friendship"" where everyone can come make friends, and, despite the interference of the crotchety old hag, Fedora, and her pet rat, the edifice is completed and the friendship problem resolved. Everyone finds a suitable partner. Although this Russian story deals with comradeship, its fiat characters and flagging plot make it an imperfect companion for the solitary reader.