This is a lesser-known story by the author of the award-winning Blue Willow. Kate is an orphan, recently handed off to "the county" by her shiftless relatives. When we first meet her, she's on her way to her first placement, as a home helper with an older couple, the Tuttles, on the California coast. Kate is immediately caught up in her new life, exploring the beach, meeting new friends, and starting at a new school. The theme of the story is Kate's self-proclaimed common sense. She's not cute or pretty or charming, but she is sensible and practical and is determined to make what she can of her few assets. With the help of new friends, Kate learns to enjoy the unexpected and sometimes put her practical instincts aside. The ending is expectedly happy, fulfilling all of Kate's secret hopes and satisfying the reader.
Verdict: Like Kate's new friends, the reader will fall in love with the reserved, hopeful little girl and enjoy watching her grow and learn in her new home.
ISBN: N/A; Published in 1967 by Viking; Reviewed from my personal collection