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Molly MacPherson, aged eleven, is the child of a Scottish farming family. Her father was born a Nigerian, of the lbo tribe, but was adopted by the farm's previous tenants and now runs the farm. Then he is killed in a car crash. Molly's mother slides into depression, while Molly herself fights tenaciously for her beloved farm and its cows. Threatened at school by racist bullies, and at home by the farm's unscrupulous owners who wish to evict the MacPhersons, Molly finds help from Strawgirl, a new supernatural friend made of straw, who has magical powers. At one level Strawgirl truly exists, and with her aid Molly can fly, like the children in Peter Pan. At another she fills Molly's need in bereavement and trauma, and she disappears when the farm is safe, Molly's mother recovered, and Molly has found a new real-life friend. The owners and would-be evictors, two terrible twins, are childish villains like something from Roald Dahl, but the bullies at school are all too real. Thus the book straddles fantasy and reality rather uneasily, never quite sure of its tone or its aim. But the farming story is good and the heroine very appealing: it is Molly the child farmer who holds the book together.