According to the dust jacket, when the author wrote this story ""I tried to put into it everything I had liked best when I was a child. An old house... some magic... cats... a doll... Christmas."" And this is a patchwork of those elements more than a complete, satisfying story. Sally was sent to stay with her Aunt Sarah in her antiquated house while her parents were away. The house is probably the most inviting aspect of the book, for the quaint objects that furnished it have been detailed and the feeling of the allurement of musty old trunks is there. Aunt Sarah is cranky and witchy-looking when Sally meets her, but readers will know right away that she is really a sweet, loving lady and it is disappointing that the revelation comes so quickly and easily. They will also know, when Sally sees an old picture of a little girl who strongly resembles her, that was really Aunt Sarah as a child. But they may wonder why Sally feels such an exclusive urge to find Elizabeth, the mysteriously vanished doll shown in the portrait. As a mystery this has some unusual elements, and as a fantasy there is an occasional well-evoked sense of mood but on the whole the magic and the course of events are too pat to pull at the imagination.