The gifted father-daughter team that created Tog the Ribber or Granny's Tale (1985, ALA Notable) and Witch Week (1989) takes on a stock British character. Tinker Jim camps in a chicken house and helps himself to food where he can, but scorns ""roast rook"" and ""stinging nettle soup""--and ""grub"" offered by a sanctimonious vicar (""I can't eat that. Give it back to the cat""). Discovering a well-stocked freezer in a stately home, he develops sophisticated tastes, washing down his lobster with Lafitte '82. One thing leads to another. he decides to wash, snitches his Lordship's pinstripe, and is nabbed; after six months behind bars, he's back to old clothes with a rabbit in the pot. Unlike Coltman's splendid earlier books, the verse here is accessible to young Americans, but it licks the pungent music of before; and the homeless tinker will be a problematic hero for some--though he's a feisty old codger who learned his trade from his dad, looks after himself pretty well, and gets largely what he deserves. Meanwhile, the paintings are exquisite. Combining several scenes or points of view--each blending into the next--to border the text or an illustration, McClure details the tinker's ambiance and activities with satirical wit mellowed by compassion. A mixed effort with some delightful strengths.