The main characters are twelve-year-old Hilda, Lois, Baby Sigurd, ten-year-old John, Mama, Papa, Uncle Ole, Aunt Bertha, Cousin Thora, and Bestefar. The family is moving to Washington from Minnesota because of Papa's bad back. John and Hilda are amazed by all of the different sights. As soon as Hilda saw her cousin Thora, she felt embarrassed because of how she looked. She did not have on nice clothes like Thora. When they arrived at Thora's house Hilda saw all the nice things they had, and wished she had them too. She was still excited though because she knew she was going to see her new home the next day. When Hilda saw the raggedy house she became very sad. However, the family made the best of their situation and began to clean up the house and soon it began to look nice. Later Hilda finds out that Thora was jealous of her because Hilda had happy home. Hilda realized that fancy things did not make a person happy and she and Thora became friends.