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When Thomas is sent to his room for showing off and making a mess in his mother's kitchen, he climbs out the window and has a dangerous adventure on the river, in a story based on the common sequence of anger followed by the realization that, even with discipline, home is best. Thomas is either a boy-shaped opossum or some sort of animal-headed boy, a puzzle symptomatic of the book's logical shortcomings: he behaves like any imaginative, and therefore mischievous, boy; but the details in both text and illustrations are a blend of fantasy and reality. Banished to his room on a lovely spring afternoon, he escapes to make a raft with the help of pocketknife, twine, and chewing gum to support the mast. The landscape where Thomas has his escapade, while a decorative blend of delicate line and watercolor hues, is also a blend of ordinary and fantastic flora and such details as a stylized stone wall that would probably topple in the real world. Nonetheless, this small book is a nice piece of design, with amusing vignettes decorating the text and cheerfully escaping the bounds of the frames. Thomas falls off his raft, is rescued by Mr. Badger, sneaks back to his room, damper but not much wiser, and is given another bath. At best, he's hoodwinked his mother who thinks an afternoon's reading has taught him a needed lesson. Young readers may enjoy the irony--and the easy text--but this is slight fare.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry/Macmillan