Through caring for a stray fox cub, a ten-year-old gradually accepts the fact that he too has been abandoned but does have a place in his foster family.
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The scene is a Scottish croft, two-thirds through this gripping little drama of love's perils and rewards. The Darkes' wary, constrained foster-child, Adam, has stolen 17 (?)-year-old David Darke's little-used microscope to raise money to buy food for the orphaned baby fox that he and age-mate Richard D. have been hiding - the fox to whom Adam has given "all the pent-up affections of his heart." But a scruffy old shopkeeper scrupulously refuses to buy the microscope for less than it's worth; and Adam returns home, both relieved and regretful, to find that the microscope has been missed, that David is accusing Richard of borrowing it without permission - and that Richard, realizing what Adam has done, is taking the blame: to protect Adam, who has held him at goading arm's length too, he is even prepared to pretend that he lost it. (But, the author might say, love is more generous when one has many persons to love.) In the course of the ensuing events Adam's dream of joining his father in Australia is finally quashed - but not before he has begun, independently, to cleave to the staunch, kindly Darkes. There's a mystery about an ancient curse thrown in - and adroitly expunged - along with a climax that, for this honest book, is a cop-out though a good joke (the imperiled Foxy turns out to be a dog). But these incidentals relieve the intensity without detracting from the book's emotional clout. (Kirkus Reviews)