A cheering report on child care ideas that work. Of the fourteen schemes profiled here, several are signal developments indeed, including one program that welcomes infants, but all share a few salient characteristics; exemplifying the best attributes of family life, they evolved in response to indigenous needs, required parental involvement, and continue to accommodate--but not necessarily expand--their populations. In addition, many were established by tenacious individuals (desperate mothers and early childhood professionals) who hired selectively and learned to outsmart the bureaucracy (""the two things I should have studied are accounting and plumbing, because those are the things that count""). Operating out of church basements, explicitly designed buildings, or private homes, the programs include a center which stresses independence and integrates handicapped children into the routine; parent-staff cooperatives at work places which enable parents to drop in during the day; a network of neighbors who consult a ""friendly helpful"" grandmotherly soul; an urban after-school center providing cross-cultural activities; and even a profit-making enterprise which manages to avoid the unindividualized plastic boobytraps which Featherstone calls ""Kentucky Fried Children."" Galinsky and Hooks, both affiliated with Bank Street College, are offering not only replicable models but examples of successful efforts whose guiding principles--rather than particular formats--deserve attention. A potential grow-product--watch the paperbacks go from hand to hand.