I bought this & The Good Master for my daughter many years ago. These books have always had a special place in my heart because of their "readability". The stories are about growing up and being loved and all that after much disruption in a young life. There is a message of hope and love that is good and kind and there is also a clear and warm picture of what life could have been like in pre-World War 1 Hungary. The illustrations are as outstanding as the story. I love reading it to children, gives me an excuse for re-reading it myself. The second book is more serious as the children grow up and war intrudes but life is like that, isn't it.