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The Adventures of Mr. Mocker by Thornton W.…

The Adventures of Mr. Mocker (1914)

by Thornton W. Burgess

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Unlike the other Burgess books I've read so far, the titular character isn't really the center of the story until the end. Or rather, the mystery about him is what the story revolves around. Any astute reader will know right away what is confusing all the animals of the Green Forest when voices are heard while their owners are sound asleep or in other parts of the forest. Sammy Jay is accused of waking everyone at night with his screams, Sticky-Toes the tree frog is grumbled at for being noisy, and plenty of other animals think they hear their friends saying unkind things about them, until everyone is upset and hardly anybody will talk to anyone else. Except for the possum who plays a central role here as he is friends with the mockingbird who is fooling everyone with his voice. He carries things a bit too far and is afraid no one will want to be his friend after how he's tricked them, but Billy Possum makes amends and when he is finally introduced the other animals are so amazed by his beautiful song and voice skills that they are eager to forgive and get to know him.

The obvious message here is to not deceive your friends, but I also noticed that the story illustrates some good problem-solving. When Sammy Jay adamantly protests that he's not screaming in the night and nobody believes him, he simply moves away so that it's obvious he's not the source of trouble. It's not the first time Burgess has shown how the characters use logic to figure out things that puzzle them, but it stood out to me for some reason this time.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Sep 15, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thornton W. Burgessprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cady, HarrisonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486481018, Paperback)

Something strange is going on in the Green Forest! Sticky-toes the Tree Toad hears his own voice coming from another tree. Sammy Jay keeps everyone awake by calling "Thief, thief!" but he swears he was asleep. Will they get to the bottom of the mystery? This classic tale of mischief and friendship includes illustrations by Harrison Cady.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:22 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The residents of Green Forest are puzzled by strange sounds, such as Sticky-toes the Tree Toad hearing his own voice coming from another tree, or Sammy Jay keeping everyone awake by calling "Thief, thief!" when he, himself, was asleep.

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