Reworking a number of familiar folk. tale themes, Cole tells the story of Tom, a servant boy who learns his wicked master's trick of changing his form at will and uses it to vanquish the master. Although the unadorned prose lacks sparkle, it should be accessible to children ready to graduate from easy readers. They'll be pleased by the lively action and Tom's clever series of escapes, and delighted with Carrick's rendition of Doctor Change, a Dickensian, snaggle-toothed, bulbous, conniving old miscreant who comes to his inevitable end when Torn, in the guise of a fox, gobbles up the rooster he has foolishly become. Carrick places him in a mellow 19th-century world where cobble-stoned streets lead to a pastoral countryside of fine trees and meadows, caught with skill and care in pen and watercolor.