Siblings Eydis and Kari are only four and six years old when they are sent from home to spend their summer in an orphanage. Their parents argue and their mother is mistreated to the extent that she ends up in hospital. At the orphanage, the children are divided into two groups: the "summer children" those that are only there for the summer and the "winter children" those who live there all year-round. Sometimes summer children become winter children, without knowing why. The orphanage is a desolate place where the children are outdoors all day regardless of weather, and those who work there have little interest in listening to the needs of the little ones. All the children are homesick and miss their parents, and they daydream that their mothers are coming to pick them up. Some daydream to the extent that they finally start believing it is true.