Though this is the last in Springstubb's trilogy about Eunice, her family, and her best friend, Joy, the story takes place before Which Way to the Nearest Wilderness? Eunice and Joy are in fourth grade, where their biggest problem is a martinet of a new gym teacher, Mr. Cruikshank. Joy's sense of justice dictates war, but she soon defects when Cruikshank proves to be a gifted gymnastics instructor and Joy, naturally adept, catches his enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Eunice suffers as the ""egg salad"" that holds her family together: the sensible middle child whose problems (in this case, her clumsiness at gymnastics, which leads to a misunderstanding with Joy) are ignored while her shy little brother, Russell, and overly dramatic 13-year-old sister, Millie, get all the attention. Millie's love-life, while comic, may be overdrawn; but sensitive Russell and his overprotective, rather dimwitted mother are painfully true to life. While this is neither as perceptive nor as seamless as the funny, realistic books of Cleary or Byars, it is an engaging picture of a loving family with real problems reaching some partial solutions; the coexistence of sibling rivalry and concerned mutual supportiveness is well drawn. Because the children are younger here, the story will appeal to somewhat younger readers than the others in the series, as well as to those who enjoyed the earlier books.