Eight lovely, low-keyed, insightful stories, set in a quiet English village where children and grownups have room for solitary stretching and time for subtly modulated feelings and relationships. In the funny, moving, sharply realized title story a small boy becomes unwillingly involved with two neighbors, Dirty Dick the feckless junk man and henpecked Mr. Macy who steals Dick's sock full of pound notes; in "The Tree in the Meadow" a child ends up bewildered and in tears after he wins membership in a gang by leading the other boys in the triumphant toppling of a large oak tree that workmen have been preparing to fell. A boy's devotion and his grandfather's crotchety resolution are perfectly aligned in "Still Jim and Silent Jim" ("the old 'un's deaf and the child can't be got to talk much") when the two sneak off via wheelchair to a graveyard miles away, so that the old man can measure his grandfather's grave and prove that he was seven feet tall. . . "Aye, they were giants in those days." Together the stories form a richly imagined childhood world.