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Mary and George Andrews are delighted when they learn that their English friends, the Aylesworths, will be sending their son Hugh from London to live with them in Ohio for the duration of the war. The Andrewses' own son Don is worried that Hugh will not fit into their small-town life but looks forward to having a foreign friend his own age. On the day Hugh arrives, Don receives a black eye from the local bully, Tom Sanders, and Don and Hugh's subsequent discussion about various treatments for black eyes ignites their friendship. Don is surprised by the instant rapport that Hugh enjoys with his Scottie dog Angus, and is pleased when the boys in his club listen eagerly to Hugh's tales of his R.A.F. fighter pilot father and ambulance driver mother. Hugh also proves to be popular at school, where he is in the same grade as Don. Time passes as the two boys teach each other English and American phrases and customs, and Don's occasional irritation at the attention shown to Hugh is tempered by his sympathy at Hugh's terrified reactions to the sounds of airplanes and a police car siren. Don's jealousy increases, however, when George and Mary fuss over Hugh to keep him from being homesick and when his popularity with the other boys grows. Even Angus seems to prefer Hugh, although George does not believe it when Annie, the housekeeper, warns him that there might be a problem. One afternoon, Tom tries to take over the clubhouse, but Hugh smokes him out with a concoction from his chemistry set. Don is unable to control his feelings as the other boys begin to regard Hugh as a hero, and to add further insult, Hugh brings home a better report card than Don. Hugh leaves Ohio briefly when George takes him to New York City to participate in an international shortwave radio broadcast, during which English children living in the U.S. can speak to their parents back home. Hugh tells his mother how wonderful the Andrewses have been to him, and later, the boys at the club are thrilled to hear about his adventure. When they then decide to elect Hugh president instead of Don, Don leaves the clubhouse and does not hear Hugh tell the others that he would never be willing to replace Don. Hugh rushes after Don, who has gone home to pack and run away. Don refuses to listen to Hugh's explanations but comes to his defense when Tom knocks him out with a rock. When Hugh regains consciousness, he explains Don's feelings of jealousy to the Andrewses, then joins Don in a fight against Tom and his pal Dick. Don and Hugh are triumphant, and at bedtime that night, they declare that they are practically brothers.