The doings of a five-year-old Dutch country boy in seventy pages of smallish print. In the first Jan chases a ""naughty black hen"" through the woods back to Farmer Kerk's, variously involving Mr. Hyacinth the fat artist, Old Gerard the knife-grinder, Mr. Albert the chemist's assistant who plays the clarinet, and his own little dog Scamp. Typical of the incidents: Jan tripping over the string tying Old Gerard's infected tooth to a tree. On Jan's birthday, he builds a church with his new blocks and Scamp knocks it down, goes outdoors to play with Grandad's present of a paper windmill (a pinwheel) and is lost to the world when he falls asleep in Farmer Groot's wheelbarrow. The image of slightly dim Cornelius, Farmer Groot's helper, unknowing, wheeling the barrow into the midst of the searchers is funny enough, but it's not enough. Especially not with a dog who barks messages, sheep who baa messages, and, in the Other, a hen who clucks messages. The rest is baby talk, and interminable.