Displaced child Ping returns to Green Knowe at the invitation of old Mrs Oldknow, and he serves as a surrogate great-grandson to her in place of Tolly. As always, the easy, playful, respectful relationship between the very old and the very young is touching and delightful. And Ping's loyalty and empathy with Hanno, another creature displaced from his proper home, is beautiful.
Of course there can be no happy ending to this book (in fact the last three books in the Green Knowe series are all quite melancholic) but when Ping declares, 'It's all right. I saw him choose,' most readers will accept a fitting conclusion. Not Alice, though. And her solution has its own magic.