Set in the 1950s in a town outside Tel Aviv, this novel portrays the difficulties of a newcomer from the viewpoint of an "insider." When Ruth arrives from Russia, the class teases her and nicknames her "Ruthi Shmuti," but Karni takes the girl under her wing.
Karni does everything she can to befriend Ruth, visiting her at the immigrants' center, quietly providing her with school supplies and fighting off those who laugh at her patchy Hebrew. Karni becomes particularly infuriated when Gil, her twin brother, teases Ruthi.
Ironically, it is the mocking Gil who makes Ruthi feel accepted. When she falls and injures herself during a class outing, Gil leads the rescue team. And when Ruth's parents propose to leave Israel, it is the mocking Gil who organizes the class campaign to find them work and convince them to stay.
Karni tells the story of Ruth's integration into the group with the empathy of an admiring friend.
Illustrations: Meir Moses