Izzie is a cloth cat-doll that Cary, three and a half, receives from her father's friend, also named Izzie, and he is with Cary for lobsters in Maine, grapes from the backyard arbor, jumping in Johnny Sperber's leaf pile in October, Christmas baking with Mother, sledding on LaSalle hill on Cary's birthday, mud pies in spring, and painting the house with Dad in summer. Each of these experiences leaves its mark on Izzie so that at the end of a year he is scarred, faded, patched and spotted, and Mother sews up a new Izzie just like the first one and puts the old Izzie inside. After that though Izzie just sits at home on Cary's bed--as she explains it to Johnny Sperber, ""He's too clean to carry around. Besides, I'm in school now."" The usual sketchy-realistic domestic scenes could make this material seem as shabby as the old Izzie, but Parker makes all of it--even a plate of cookies on a gingham tablecloth--glow with love and tranquility.