Chapters 3-4 Summary

Enter Melanie—and Marshall

Melanie Ross, who, like April, is eleven years old, arrives at the Halls' apartment a few minutes before noon on that same day. The friendly little girl does not know much about Mrs. Hall's granddaughter, but she hopes that she is close to her in age, and that they might become friends. Melanie is quite surprised, however, when the newcomer opens the apartment door to her knock. April has her hair stacked up in a pile on her head; she has an ostentatious "fur thing" wrapped around her shoulders, and is wearing clumsily-attached pair of ludicrous false eyelashes.

Recovering from her initial shock, Melanie introduces herself, explaining that she has come to bring April up to her family's apartment for lunch. Casually, she asks if her new acquaintance will be staying with her grandmother long, but April responds dismissively that she will only be staying a short while, just until her mother, who is traveling with a band right now, is finished with her tour. Melanie recognizes that April is "showboating," but concludes that she is acting that way because she is homesick.

Up in the Rosses' apartment, April meets Melanie's mother and four-year-old brother Marshall. Melanie's mother is a sharp, neat-looking woman, and April senses that she is one adult who will not be easy to fool. During lunch, April talks a lot about Hollywood, where she most recently lived with her mother, and about the movie stars she has met. Afterward, Mrs. Ross, unfazed by the visitor's braggadocio, suggests that April might like to look at Melanie's books, to see if there is something she might be interested in borrowing.

Melanie is an avid reader, and has quite an extensive "library" in her room. At first, April feigns indifference, but in reality, she loves to read and is quickly caught up in the fascinating selection of items in her new friend's bookcase. By chance, she discovers a collection of what appears to be paper dolls in a particularly dull-looking book. Melanie, who uses them to represent players in an imaginary game in which she makes...

(The entire section is 861 words.)