Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE REAL THIEF by William Steig


illustrated by William Steig

Pub Date: July 15th, 1973
ISBN: 0312371454
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Gawain the goose, a conscientious guard who alone holds keys to the royal treasury, is astounded when the finest jewels begin to disappear but even more shocked when he himself is accused of the crime by the King, a gruff, fatherly bear whom he has served and loved. The real thief, a mouse named Derek who has gained entry through a small hole in the floor and taken the treasures simply to enhance his humble digs, hasn't the courage to own up but does get Gawain off the hook by continuing to remove gems and coins after the goose has fled. Still somehow remorseful, Derek at last returns all the stolen items, finds Gawain in his forest hideout, and confesses to him; Gawain in turn forgives both the King and Derek, whom he never exposes, and the whole affair ends in a rush of typically Steigian good nature (immeasurably extended by the line and wash drawings) that it is impossible to resist.