A couple of pleasant surprises here. Of all the developmental values regularly dredged up through juvenile fiction, lying seldom gets much attention. Samantha is an inventive liar. Liars, like all good storytellers, require a receptive audience. Unfortunately, Sam's audience was too good. Thomas believed everything the lonely, motherless girl spun out for him, even that she had a pet baby kangaroo who always happened to be out when the little boy called. One day, Sam over-reached herself. She sent him out to a lighthouse point expecting to find the baby kangaroo there. A stormy high-tide came along and Sam had to suffer all the agonies of the willful misleader as well as her father's disappointment. Even when the boy was rescued, Sam had to live with the thought that Mr. Bangs, her black cat/familiar, had followed him out there and was lost. But Mr. Bangs, like all good cats, had lives to spare and turned up soaking wet for a nearly reformed Sam. There remained the problem of retrieving her status with the boy. A reformed liar needs trust. Sam seals it with a gift for Thomas that looks a lot like a baby kangaroo--it's a gerbil and the first one of this nationwide pet fad to turn up, and in color too. There's almost nothing left to be said about Evaline Ness' illustrations. These are excellent, with line and color catching the lonely fearfulness of Sam's reform.