Australia provides the setting for this story with which a good many 3rd and 4th graders will identify, for every child goes through a period of planning to run away from home. Joanne Mitchell, an orphan, couldn't put up with Aunt Lillian and Uncle Fred any more, so, disguising herself as a boy and calling herself Joe Casey, Joanne takes an old horse, Darkie, and runs away. Later, an old drover, chance encountered, gives her a puppy which she names Abbie and the trio travel all around Queensland finding adventure. Joanne meets some people named Mitchell and wants to stay with them. But the Mitchells want a boy so she runs away again, almost reaching the decision that she must return to her uncle and aunt. And then the unexpected happens. Exciting and well written.