The jacket explains that the author wrote this especially for her son who "was tired of sad stories about girls and wished she would write a funny story about a boy." There is a lot here to make a young boy laugh in the eccentricities of Harry Houdini Marco's mother's boarders, and Harry's narration of his story is generally as humorous as it is down to earth. Literally, that is, for Harry is one of those unevenly developed boys who seems to come permanently equipped with something to fall over. But this story still retains that subtle sense of wistful fantasy derived from loneliness and vulnerability which was so well evoked in The Velvet Room (1965) and Season of Ponies (1963). Harry's deceased father had been a magician and had hopes that his son would follow in the profession. Unfortunately sleight of hand was beyond the ability of all-thumbs Harry. During the summer of this story, Harry once again had to forego a vacation trip to help his mother with the boarding house. But one of their guests, Tarzack Mazzeeck, a purveyor of magical (genuine magic) goods and an ex-magician under a spell, gave him a potion for growing wings. The wings are a completely private, secret enjoyment, and Harry reacts to his flights over San Francisco with a finely conceived sense of physical experimentation and total aesthetic pleasure.