There was trouble in Timpetill long before Willy Stolz tied an alarm clock to the cat's tail, but that prank brought the trouble to a climax. The parents held a secret meeting in order to fight back against the outrageous behavior of their children, and the next morning the children awaken to a deserted town. The adults and small children are gone; the electricity and water supply have been shut off. In the two days that follow the narrator, thirteen year old Michael, his friend Thomas, and his cousin Marianne, organize the good children, establish law and order, and defeat the Pirates, the rowdies responsible for the bad reputation the children have acquired. When all these miracles have been accomplished, the parents return and say they hadn't really meant to stay away so long; they had wandered into the forest, mistakenly crossed the border, and been captured by foreign soldiers as smugglers. Parts of the book have the madcap vivacity of Detectives in Togas. Projecting an audience for this juvenile is difficult. Lord of the Flies as a comparison is doing it too much justice; on the other hand, the similarities are obvious to the well informed reader.