We haven't even opened the book yet and already we're learning. The cover illustration teaches animals how to go into the forest to feed the wild children that grow there, in a feral state. One of the children is so feral that she doesn't wear shoes and goes about wearing only a toga. One feral boy wears overalls like a savage. So feral!
In today's story, Joe and his nameless father, named "Father" are seen walking in a park near a city, possibly called "The City". Father is so relaxed that he only feels the need to wear one of his jackets, since it is a warm summer day.
Joe expresses some interest in sleeping under a tree, as well as some awareness that there are people called "Indians". This is fairly progressive material for 1939. This may be the only copy of Neighbors and Friends to escape the bonfire.
Joe's interest in tree-sleeping results in an eventual camping trip. In this illustration, we learn that, when camping, it is acceptable to dress informally. Father is wearing a camping tie and a camping fedora. Joe is wearing his special red camping tie, as well as the hat he usually reserves for occasions in which he addresses people as "mug".
In the chapter "Making Camp", the critical question is "What did father do to make camp?". In short order, we discover that one makes camp by making an "Indian" do it for you. The Indian is as nameless as Father, but also is not allowed to speak or be spoken to. There is no explanation how the Indian got here from India. There is also no mention of "Mother".
At one point, Joe and Father see a bear. Father knows enough to instruct his son to freeze. One wonders what would have been his advice had the bear chosen to investigate further, instead of running off.
After the encounter, it may have been viewed as a fine time to teach Joe how to keep their food supply from attracting bears to their camp site, and thereby prevent an untidy disemboweling. But apparently, you'd have to be an Indian to know that. Maybe Father also brought his anti-bear tie on this trip?
At the end of the story, there is more labor for the Indian, and we finally discover the existence of Mother! Joe expresses some hope that next summer, Mother can go camping with him and father, but this would involve her being allowed to leave the house. Maybe next year?