This is a delightfully silly tale of a man with three daughters who bursts his trousers. The buttons fly into the fire and are burned. He takes to his bed. Not to worry, he has three daughters. The eldest declares that she will dress in her finest clothing and walk back and forth across a bridge until a young man falls in love with her. Thereupon she will demand buttons for her father before consenting to marriage. She does get a young man to fall in love with her but forgets to demand the buttons.
The second daughter plans to disguise herself as a man and join the army where her uniform will surely have enough buttons to spare for her father. The second daughter's plan also fails to get buttons but does get her a husband.
The third daughter decides to go to the meadow with her apron outstretched in order to catch any buttons that might fall from the sky.
It's the youngest and most inept daughter, as it should be, who is at last successful but not before a hilarious text and suitably comic illustrations lead us to the final family portrait. Cole's text is witty as well as silly with a strong dose of understatement giving us a delightfully affectionate tale of a family of sillies.