This for your Pied Piper market, and I think it is basically a better book. It is the kind that makes you choky one minute and chuckling the next. The story of an ble lovable old general who cannot bear his civilian status in wartime England, and who tries vainly to find his niche -- and then shuts himself away from the whole mass. It takes his old batman, Bates, to find a way to force life upon him in the form of thirteen problem children, Cockney evacuees, who are dumped unceremoniously upon the household in a reasonably secure corner of England, and who pull the old General out of his mood in short order. Of course, some will say it is sentimental and that the children are stock characters -- but there is plenty of originality in handling the material and the story has plenty of drama and humanity. I liked it! A far ry from Ronald's previous books.