Nicola's adorable little dog, June Bug, keeps getting into trouble. She steals the neighbor's turkey, yanks down the Christmas tree and destroys Mum's almost-finished giant crossword. Everyone is mad, and it looks as though June Bug's days are numbered.
Will doing a good deed make up for June Bug's bad behavior?
Nicola certainly hopes so. And when she and June Bug come across a new nursing home in the neighborhood, it feels like a Sign. They volunteer to become regular visitors at Shady Oaks, certain that June Bug's cute tricks will cheer up the elderly residents.
In fact, they could all use some cheering up. It's the holiday, and yet everyone seems to be cranky and off balance. Nobody has put up any lights, Nicola's grade five teacher is inexplicably crabby, and Nicola's big brother Jared stays holed up in front of the computer playing Inferno 2, eagerly sending winged creatures into a fiery abyss. Even Nicola is not herself, and when a new girl, Lindsay, tries to be her friend, Nicola finds herself being uncharacteristically mean, because Lindsay seems to be one of those hair-and-jewelry girls who wants her own subscription to Bride magazine for Christmas.
But Nicola's mother won't let her visit Shady Oaks by herself, so when Lindsay offers to go with her, Nicola agrees. And the girls discover that something unusual is going on at the home, where it seems that a few of the more remarkable patients are being kept against their will. Freeing them will bring out the very best in Nicola, and especially in June Bug.