This with its predecessor, The Mudhen and the Walrus (1950) shows Mr. Allen in a role apart from his familiar historical fictioneering. The Mudhen is a sort of American Stalky, the languid, but purposeful John Crane, acting janitor at ivy-clad Watervale Academy. The story is told largely through the Mudhen's reports to Scotty, a favorite professor, laid up in the hospital. And the round of extra-curricular activities and zany events range from mad escapades, inter-fraternity rivalries, to using school money to help Scotty with his operation expenses. While the repartee and school spirit are commendable, the pace of story adequate, this lacks the emotional probe that might have made it better than a somewhat synthetic picture of school life.