This simple Canadian import, graced by lyrical prose, delivers a message of respect and kindness toward a community eccentric without resorting to heavy-handed pedantry. Long Nellie is the neighborhood scavenger, who looks "like the stem of a wild leafless tree" and lives a gypsy life in a ramshackle trailer. Young Jeremy worries because Nellie finds almost nothing in his family's garbage, so when he discovers a stray kitten, he deems Long Nellie a likely candidate for caretaker. Jeremy hides the kitten where Nellie is sure to find it on her next trip to the town dumpster. After a comic mishap lands all three amid the dumpster's dripping garbage, Jeremy gets the opportunity to visit with Long Nellie in her exotic abode, "a patchwork nest," decorated with colored bottles and gypsy clothes "bright as the flags on circus tents." Vivid, energetic watercolors capture the glorious confusion of Nellie's home and sensitively portray Nellie's subtle transformation from a dull-eyed loner into a fascinating neighbor.