Laura is so timid that when she hears a girl, Em, and her little brother, Tommy, playing next door she listens and watches them furtively without introducing herself. When Em throws Tommy's prized toy car over the fence and then can't find it, Laura dreams of finding it herself and returning it to him. Then Laura meets Zilla, who also lives next door, and comes to understand that nobody else can see those other children, linked somehow to a tragedy in the past. She finds and returns the toy car to Zilla, deteriorated from years in the yard, and sets into motion events that put the ghosts--for that's what they are--next door to rest. Ure (The Wizard in the Woods, 1992, etc.) has composed a story that, like its bashful heroine, never really goes anywhere, but reveals itself in bits and pieces. Readers may find themselves without patience for such meandering; the jacket art gives away the ghostly element even as it clashes with character descriptions from the text.