This Newbery-Medal winner is a wonderful book about 14-year-old Sara, her older sister Wanda, their Aunt Willie who takes care of them, and their 10-year-old brother Charlie, who was mentally impaired by life-threatening illnesses at the age of three. Sara, in particular, is very protective of Charlie, especially against school kids who make fun of him. She turned a water hose on a girl who called Charlie a "retard," and won't speak to her schoolmate Joe, who she thinks stole Charlie's beloved watch.
The whole story is told in a very short time frame, maybe two full days. After Sara takes Charlie to see swans which are living on a nearby pond, Charlie wakes up in the middle of the night and wanders off. Nobody can find him. Sara, with the help of her best friend Mary, the help of Joe, and the help of the townspeople, finds Charlie. In the process of doing so, Sara learns to not make hasty judgements or accusations: a big step in the process of growing up.
A short, realistic, well-told story.