Henry Dither and his wife Clementine are introduced during their comic, yokel-style courtship, but most of the events here take place years later, when a visit from Great-aunt Emma--a remarkable lady who arrives by magic carpet--precipitates a summer of extraordinary events involving the four Dithers children and a large cast of colorful Virginia neighbors. Aunt Emma departs on mysterious business with high-ranking connections in Washington; in her absence, Matilda and little Archibald cleverly work out the carpet's secret and are spied on a trial flight by ne'er-do-wells who kidnap Archibald, hoping to get the carpet. A satisfying finale involves a rescue, several affectionate matches, and even a Fourth of July parade. Like Byars's Blossom books, here's a lively farce populated with pungently realized characters whose interrelated adventures are briskly presented in a kaleidoscope of scenes. Hite's language, a deft mix of colloquial, satirical, and philosophical, is delightfully intelligent and witty; he piles on adroitly chosen detail and incidents that enliven the texture but never slow his story. A grand readaloud with broad age appeal.