Life on the Delaware Canal in the late 1800's with Mr. and Mrs. Bannister, 6-year-old Johnny, and 11-year-old Kate, make up the time and cast of characters in this interesting tale of a rarely treated aspect of colonial life. Sam Bannister's job as tender of the New Hope, Pa., lock brings to light Kate's intolerance of people different from herself, namely ""canalers"" whom she considers dirty, loud, and generally offensive. The Keener family, especially young David, lives on a barge and suffers particularly from her lack of understanding. While giving an excellent picture of life during those early times, the author teaches Kate a lesson in humane feeling that is not preachy and is well motivated. For those who enjoy reading about how children their own ages lived in a time when fun, food, and clothing were truly homemade.