The Thing that Jim sees on TV scares him and, as a floating, dragon like, indistinct form (all wiggly bright lines with white eyes), it haunts his dreams that night. But at school next day the other kids are agog over The Thing. (""It was great. I loved it!"") When Jim doesn't want to talk about it, they tease him for being scared. When a praying mantis turns up on Danny's shoulder at recess, you know how Jim will redeem himself--but Cohen adds a nice touch by having Jim place the insect under a tree though the others are yelling ""Squash it!"" and ""Kill it!"" The story gains an extra measure of fun and energy from the kids' TV-inspired Super Heroes play. ""I'll be Gravity Girl,""'says Anna Maria. ""Paul can be my husband, Web Man."" And later, ""Don't try to get away! I'll just turn on my gravity belt and you'll be stuck!"" At that point, Jim doesn't want to play Super Hero. But once the mantis rescue sends his stock up and others are moved to admit that they too have fears, he's ready for action: ""Mantis Man could beat The Thing!"" Hoban responds to the Super Hero current and the recess and gymnastics class settings by putting the kids through action and groupings that hum with an engaging vitality. Well met.