Until Ruby Morrison's family moves into her Freedom, Kentucky neighborhood, seven-year-old Grace's chief problem is that she's the middle one of three girls. Now Grace is puzzled and unhappy when her visiting great-aunt and some of the neighbors try to avoid the Morrisons because they are Negroes. Then one evening when their parents are out, little Melody starts a kitchen fire and though the baby sitter puts it out, Mrs. Morrison, neighbor-like, comes over and cleans up the kitchen. Soon afterwards Ruby proves to be the star of a school singing concert and the Morrisons are in. The author's good intentions are awkwardly evident (""You never told me that Ruby was colored,"" Grace's mother says. ""'Didn't I?' said Grace. 'Well, she's real nice.'"") and we don't really believe that the Morrisons' talents for music and cleaning kitchens is the intended point. However, the nicest thing that we can say for A Smiling Face is that it's about twenty years out of date.