Mollie Thurstan is a concert pianist living in a small village in England. Her quiet life is interrupted when she is asked to look after nieces Erica, who lives in Burma, and Freda who comes from Tasmania. Both girls come over on the same boat and settle down. Erica is slightly older, but has been spoilt, and is not as able to look after herself as Freda is. Freda soon assumes a role of mothering her, and helps her with her chores. Both girls make the acquaintance of Mollie's Alsatian, Tal. Freda adores him but Erica is very frightened of him. Mollie gives Freda an Alsatian of her own. At the beginning of the new term the girls start school. Freda settles in easily and soon makes friends. Erica finds things much more difficult and is very jealous of Freda, telling her she should be satisfied with herself alone. Freda is sorry for her cousin but refuses to give up her friends. In the end all comes right and the book closes with a very happy Christmas for the family.
Ruth Jolly has written an article on dogs in Elinor’s books.