19 NOVEMBER 1910, Page 59

Off the Wicket. By Harold Avery. (T. Nelson and Sons.

3s. 6d.)—" Just for a Joke " would have been a better title for

this story of schoolboy life. Two boys force a school-mate's desk open, look at his rather famous collection of stamps, and then the idea occurs to one of them to remove six valuable ones and sub- stitute worthless ones, "just for a joke." Out of this foolish but quite boyish notion comes endless trouble, for the culprits let pass the opportunity of confessing before matters have gone too far, and so they struggle on till things reach a climax with the theft of postal orders. It is a boy's book, with plenty of "larks" and boy-nature in it, and the interest runs strong to the very last.

Boys ought to read it, if only for the excellent moral conveyed in it : " Speak up !" and " Do it now," if one may adopt Mr. Fetes Keary's motto. The mysterious correspondence about the stamps would turn even a schoolboy's hair grey, and all this arises from want of moral courage. The lesson is a good one, and very well developed.