The 13 Mancy children smell, wear funny clothes and keep to themselves. In a story set in Brooklyn against a 1953 atmosphere of patriotic paranoia, it's not surprising then that the Mancys are targets for taunts and tricks by Rhoda and her friends: anyone who doesn't conform to the norm is suspect. But Rhoda isn't comfortable playing pranks on Mrs. Mancy, or calling the mysterious Mr. and Mrs. Rose spies. When her friends desert her after an accident, it's Fig Mancy who rescues Rhoda, exposing her to a different side of the family. In quick succession, the Roses' true identity (they're actors) is revealed; and Rhoda, now sympathetic to the Mancys' lifestyle, sets out to help her friends understand that it's O.K. to be different and that people should not be judged only by what they appear to be. The theme here is commendable and the writing adequate, but the 50's setting seems forced, sounding more like an adult's nostalgic remembrance than an integral part of the story. Although the plot has its tense and touching moments, overall the pieces fall together too easily, making the resolution appear pat.