In 1937 Brooklyn, ten-year-old Miriam's family is very poor and her educated mother is stand-offish; consequently, Miriam is tormented by her classmates. But she has her friend Naomi, also poor but respected as the rabbi's daughter. Then too, there is old Mrs. Nathan downstairs, who bakes for the children once a month when her check arrives. And there are the holiday celebrations that make Miriam feel close to her traditional Jewish family. And so, when her rich Aunt Lili and Uncle Mac (once Lily and Max) visit from Florida with the plan of adopting Miriam (they call her Mimi--it's ""more American""), she finally decides to stay home. We first see Miriam playing opposite John Wayne, Fred Astaire, and Clark Gable in her daydreams and longing for the clothes and glamorous life her aunt and uncle could provide. However, Lili, who rejects everything ""foreign"" (""You mean Jewish,"" Mama corrects), is such an obvious shallow snob that the choice is clear to readers from the start. Nevertheless, this is a full enough story so that children who are inclined toward such ethnic nostalgia and old-timey values will take to Miriam, her loving family, and her clearly projected Brooklyn neighbors.