The city of Chicago lay destitute after the horrendous tragedy of the great fire. Paralleling its resurgence is the story of the Rowland family's adjustment to their new life in America. The shattering of mother's heirloom china in moving admittedly seemed an ominous note, as did Fred's difficulties at school. But as the family comes to understand that America is composed of the contributions of all its immigrants, be they British, like the Rowlands, or German, like the children father protected during the fire, they become part of the city and learn to take from it too. We view their everday tribulations and joys through the eyes of 13 year old Annie, who grieves when sister Kate loes her long locks due to an unsuccessful first venture with chewing gum and cheers when all the neighborhood joins in the maypole dance, an old tradition which Annie initiated. The complete picture is inviting and wholly human.