"A new friend has come to share our barn. Let us welcome him." And so the homeless dog Vladimir - with his stock of proverbial Russian wisdom - joins the growing community of rustic characters who inhabit Ludmila's barn - Ludmila herself, of course, three hens, two cows, one contrary goose - and we mustn't forget the scurrying Malyshy - tiny, but very hungry - and then the migrating swallows! Ludmila knows the best way to maintain harmony in these tight quarters. Share and share alike. But Ludmila's way is not embraced by all the barnyard residents, least of all by Pavel the goose - who is beginning to worry about his corn ration. The ancient Russian village of Suzdal, with its onion-shaped domes, bell towers, wooden windmills and chalk-white monasteries, provides the backdrop for this simple story of generosity. And a traditional Russian family, who tend the animals and grow fruit and vegetables on a small plot of land, echo this theme in human terms. As Vladimir knows, Where the needle goes, the thread follows. Generous Ludmila is the needle leading her animal friends - as well as young readers - toward a hapier way of living together. With her guidance, everyone discovers the tangible and intangible rewards of sharing.