Divorcing himself from the artificialty and effort of Aurora Dawn (1947) this is a tragi-comedy of youngsters, understandingly, amusingly, entertainingly presented, with enough bite in the interpolations of the adult world against which they carry on incessant warfare, to keep it from a too humorous approach. Wouk tells of eleven and a half year old Bronx Herbie Bookbinder's school and camp exploits -- exploits promoted by his desire to be liked and admired for something other than his fat and his brains. With his cousin Cliff he manages a modicum of trouble for himself and a maximum for others. He loses his heart; he achieves passing fame in a school play by creating a General Grant that never was; he competes unsuccessfully with athletic Lennie for popular favor; he suffers a few frustrations at camp. Then he reaches a peak of fame in constructing a slide for the mardigras, only to have it tempered by realization that he has an unpleasant confession to make to his father. The confession ultimately saves his father's plant- and the finale, despite punishment, is more than Herbie had hoped. Nice going- with no profound social significance or jibes at modern mores.