Heartfelt and funny, this novel-in-letters set during World War II introduces a winning heroine who learns to cope with the loss of her father - with a loyal heart, an independent attitude, and an unforgettable way with words. Dear Papa, Mama got a job! I hope you don't turn over in your grave like she says. We all tried to eat a little less but that doesn't pay the electric bill, she says. It was expensive for you to go to the hospital, and then to be buried besides really added up. (Not that we blame you!) Nine-year-old Isabelle and her class are learning how to write letters, and it's a good thing, too - for she has a lot to write to Papa about after he dies. First of all, her cat ran away; then her older sisters, Irma and Inez, both got boyfriends; little Ida hardly remembers Papa at all; and brother Ian is just plain mad to be left with a house full of females. As for Mama, ever since she sold Papa's filling station and got a job cleaning houses, she's always tired with a capital "T." But there's something much worse: Mama's family wants her to ship Isabelle off to live with her none-too-favorite aunt and uncle, to help lighten the load for Mama at home. Now who will be there to stop little Ida from calling Mama's new boss "Papa"?
One year after her father's death, nine-year-old Isabelle begins writing him letters relating the important events in her life.