Another story about the McKays of The Stones (1976)--but otherwise just-another-story, robbed even of its built-in appeal by the presence of one of those blatantly obnoxious little girls who are usually the recourse of lesser writers. This is the appealing situation: 1950s Midwestern villager Linnie McKay is certain that on her tenth birthday, only days off, she'll get the dog she's been longing for; so the halfway-sharp reader knows she'll first be disappointed and then somehow, gratifyingly, get her wish. And the interest should be seeing how that comes to pass--what with Linnie's buddy Arnold Anderson providentially hiding two pups from the dogcatcher, with Linnie's help. But also on hand, for a visit, is baton-twirling show-off and snob and dullard and dog-hater and all-around drag Darla Gayle Champion; and though the story is supposed to conclude with Linnie getting over her (shameful) fear of thunderstorms and Darla getting over her (secret) fear of dogs and some-sort-of-understanding between the two, it all seems engineered--as, indeed, does the birthday-dog business (Linnie's ""present"" is a new house, which she doesn't want--but there, away from Aunt Em, she'll be able to have a dog). This time out, only the intimate, small-scale life of Merritsburg (pop. 234) really rings true.