Gilly Geva's family transforms when her father goes away. Ilana stops being a mother; she invites in Jonas, a zany tramp blown in from the sea, and Gilly is worried. Who can she turn to? Her older brother is bewitched by Jonas' monkey, and her friends think Gilly is lucky to have such an unconventional mother. Then Ilana brings in Farhia, a scared young Bedouin girl she found on the beach. Gilly's urgent pleas are ignored or misunderstood. She takes unusual steps to shock Ilana into restoring the balance at home.
Nurit Zarchi explores some of the basic questions about families. What happens when parents abdicate responsibility? What do children have a right to expect?
Illustrations: Danny Kerman