This third book about Adam Joshua is familiar in tone and incident, which should please his faithful fans; but as he grows older, more of the linked episodes hinge on school activities. Here; the central concern is Adam Joshua's rivalry with archenemy Elliot, countered by his close friendship with Nelson next door. In one episode, he feigns illness to stay home because his baby sister seems to be taking over his dog; in another, when love overcomes scruples, he steals his favorite book (about Superman) from the school library, with comically traumatic results. The climactic story deals with a duel by show-and-tell: Elliot escalates his display of expensive toys until Adam Joshua triumphs with an unbeatable exhibit--his best friend. Though Adam Joshua's classmates are more types than individuals, his teacher is a paragon of warmth and understanding. And Smith uses a deadpan style and realistic detail to such delicious, humorous effect that the story will serve well as a read-aloud in addition to being entertaining fiction for younger readers.