When Andy Hoddell was a small boy, he was the same as the other four; then, little by little, a window seemed to close on him; now at twelve he is different, and even Andy knows it. So that when he tells Matt and Joe and Terry and Mike that he has bought Beccham Park Trotting Course for three dollars, they are aghast. Not so the groundskeepers and ticket takers and concessionaires--everyone likes Andy, everyone hails him as the owner, everyone is glad that he's the owner; even Joe, who is most bothered by the prospect of Andy's dream crashing down around his ears, begins to doubt.... Against this authentic, incredibly poignant dilemma, Andy plays the part of the owner; he nurtures the graceful onion weed in the flower beds; sies a pack of curs after the mechanical hare on the greyhound track; decorates a decrepit grandstand with streamers for Joe's birthday. When the band uniforms are ruined by old paint Andy applied to the benches, the owners meet to take action--and decide to buy Andy out. As a character, Andy is so immediately and implicitly realized that it seems gross to speak of him as a retarded child, which is probably all that need be said about this buoyant book.