Cory (Dan Byrd) is not enthusiastic about meeting Dan (Tom Nowicki) and Michele (Robin O’Dell), his new foster parents. Clearly, he has already decided it makes no sense to allow himself to get close to people. He responds to their kindness and patience by thawing a little, but it is not until his choir goes to perform at a nursing home that he finds someone to feel close to.
It is Carlotta (Julie Harris), like Cory also unhappy and out of place. Cory buys Carlotta the ingredients she needs to make her special candy, halvah. He loves to hear about her life in the circus, and as they become close they agree to be each other’s family.
When Cory thinks he overhears Michelle and Dan saying they are going to send him away, he goes to see Carlotta, and they agree to run away together. At first, they are able to support themselves by selling halvah. But when someone threatens to report Cory as truant from school, they run away. They find a circus and persuade Boss Ed (Mickey Rooney) to take them on to sell concessions. Carlotta meets up with some old friends and Cory makes some new ones (and triumphs over a jealous bully). They are very happy, until Carlotta becomes ill and has to go to the hospital. The circus has to leave without them, but Cory finds a way to have the family he dreamed of. This sweet, episodic story has many magical moments. The backstage glimpses of circus life are delightful. Cory even gets some batting advice from Joe DiMaggio, who appears as himself. Families of all kinds will respond to this story about people who triumph over a series of obstacles to create a family for themselves.