A clever, endearing switch on the Epaminondas/Lazy Jack pattern--with some of Hoban's sunniest crayon-box illustrations. Small narrator Artie, reminded by his mother not to cross the street (""I never cross the street""), goes outside and climbs up the ladder resting against the house--and when he's reprimanded, replies: ""You never told me not to climb up ladders."" The next day, he wanders into a birthday party uninvited (""You never told me that before""); the day after that, he unties a whimpering dog and takes it for a walk (""You never told me not to""). Then he gets the idea of digging a hole, ""all the way through the earth to China,"" in the near-by empty lot. But: can he? ""Why in the world couldn't you?"" his mother asks. And replies Artie: ""You never told me I could."" The no-nos are natural toddler temptations--and it would be natural for a toddler to hesitate over a hole-to-China too. Delton even remembers to give the minimal text an occasional perk-up (""My mom wiped her hands on her apron. . ."" before proferring a hug)--while Artie, weighing those no-nos and yearning to skip, is not just a stock figure in a patterned tale.