The best thing about Joshua Cobb is the company he travels in. If you remember Brillo Brilovitch from his year at boarding school (The Making of Joshua Cobb, KR, 1971) then you'll be ready to meet Crane -- the gangly last-minute substitute for her sister Helen on Joshua's first cycling and camping adventure. Crane appears in a long cape with a white band-aid on her sunburn-susceptible nose, throws dandelion greens and nameless berries into the camp food, stands on her head every morning, and doesn't mind telling the group when she thinks they've done something dumb. To Joshua's mind, Crane is the very antithesis of what a gift should be, but in the companionable course of the trip's crises and triumphs, Crane turns out not to be so weird after all -- even beautiful in her love of animals and hunger for knowledge. Everyone else is more or less along for the ride, but it's a comradely outing, and Crane is a real original. . .it's worth coasting along just to see what she'll do next.