Cross has made a real and largely successful attempt to adopt a prose style that will please young readers and reflect something of the appeal that P. T. Barnum's midget showman had for his 19th-century audience. Charles Sherwood Stratton was apparently an exceptionally bright and winning child, a canny performer from the day he went to work for Barnum at the tender age of four. (Barnum billed him as eleven.) Cross emphasizes the friendship between the little fellow and his promoter and the enthusiasm with which he was greeted everywhere by a ""Tom Thumb crazy"" world. If her occasionally folksy phrases sometimes border on the hokey, how else can one deal with a popular idol ""no bigger than a minute"" who is cuddled and kissed by queens (Victoria among them) and eventually marries a fellow midget named Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump? An amiable diversion.