Nina Bawden is a major minor talent who deserves to be more widely read than has been the case-- she's about in a class with Elizabeth Taylor, which is to say that she fingers experience with a funny, sad, sure touch. This story is told by Kate, twelve (chronologically only), and it deals variously with her family, her friends, and their neighbors in a London suburb--- her mother, Ellen, who has astringently attempted to make them all independent; her sisters, Joanna, a difficult, superior seventeen, and the much younger Poll, all-- or are they-- the children of Ellen's earlier marriage to an actor. Now they have a stepfather Boyd, whose self-effacing, steady affection through the years they have taken for granted. And then there's Aunt Hat, an old friend, in refuge from an unpleasant marital brawl. Aunt Hat ""thinks with her heart"" and is an indulgent presence. Certain events involve them all, Boyd in particular, during the next months. He's a doctor and his attendance at the deathbed of reclusive Miss Fantom next door leads to malicious speculations which Kate's own tendency to improvise has indiscreetly fed and furthered. As Boyd tells her, too late, ""if you throw some mud, some of it will stick,"" which it does.. .. A Little Love, A Little Learning is a simultaneous pleasure which makes an intelligent use of sentiment, disabusing and disarming at the same time. It also teaches with conspicuous charm that the attractive novel can still be found.