In the outskirts of the Bronx in 1930s New York, the Mitwisser clan are German refugees who survive at the whim of their vagabond benefactor,
James A'Bair. James is heir to the fortune amassed by his father, the author of a wildly popular series of children's books called The Bear Boy. Into their chaotic household comes Rose Meadows, orphaned at the age of eighteen. Employed as an assistant to the eccentric Professor Mitwisser, Rose's position within the family is precarious, especially when the arrival of James threatens the fragile balance of the household.