The Real Thief
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Gawain the goose is the loyal guardian of the treasurehouse in the court of his beloved king, Basil the Bear. When a fortune vanishes piecemeal from his custody, Gawain is accused and publicly condemned. His loyalty is destroyed with his reputation and he escapes from captivity after making a scathing declaration of hatred against the entire court. The real thief is a pathetically covetous little mouse who, tormented by guilt, pursues Gawain into the wilderness, seeking to reestablish the integrity of his own personality and that of the state. This is a beautifully told story, which deals gently but honestly with the anguish arising from affection betrayed. The use of animal characters is effective in refracting painful events while maintaining a sense of empathy. The book is ideal for reading aloud, and highly recommended for independent readers of all ages.