A Depression-era, Blue Ridge Mary Poppins, Ida Early turns up grinning on the Suttons' doorstep just when they need her. Their mother has died some months earlier and their Aunt Earnestine, who has been ""taking care of"" them, is critical and stern. The Suttons happily replace her with Ida, a six-foot scarecrow in overalls and brogans, with a tossing, roping, and shooting aim to beat the traveling carnival's crack shot, and a memory so good ""she can recall things that never even happened."" Most of her recollections concern her past exploits as world champion of just about every activity you can mention, Her stories, her goofy grin, and her unorthodox housekeeping and good cooking win the hearts of the five-year-old Sutton twins, their father, and the older children Ellen (twelve) and Randall (eleven). Still, Ellen and Randall fail to come to Ida's defense when their school-yard friends make fun of her looks, and as a result Ida is hurt and withdrawn and the two children are filled with remorse. After that you can never forget the wistful side of Ida--but you can trust her to rise to the occasion when she finds herself on the school stage with a rope in her hand, an angry bear loose in the audience, and her former tormentors cheering her on. Ida never disappoints but she won't hesitate to teach a hard lesson when it's called for. And she's a real, zesty original.