Ken Anderson has emailed to me the text of this book:
The forward states: For Edward from his godmother, and for Christopher from his assistant godmother.
Terrible Thomas lived in a very tall house in New York City. It was taller than a tree.. It was taller than a church steeple. It was called an apartment house. It had fifteen floors.
Terrible Thomas lived on the tenth floor with his mother and father and Mary. Mary helped Terrible Thomas's mother. Mary helped with the cooking in the kitchen and the cleaning in the living room and the bedmaking in the bedroom, and she set the table in the dining room.
"Mary", said Terrible Thomas, "why do you call me Terrible Thomas?"
"Because," said Mary, "although you are a very good boy when I am watching you, as soon as my back is turned you do things that are just terrible."
"I don't do terrible things," said Terrible Thomas. "I do interesting things."
One winter afternoon Terrible Thomas and Mary rode down in the elevator to the basement and went into the laundry room, where the washing machines were. Mary put all of Terrible Thomas's dirty clothes in the washing machine. First his bluejeans. Then his sweaters. Then his shirts and his socks and his pajamas.
"I will put the soap flakes into the washing machine for you, Mary," said Terrible Thomas.
"Thank you," said Mary. "Put in one cupful of soap flakes, please." And she sat down on a chair to rest.
Terrible Thomas poured out a cup of soap flakes from the big box and poured them into the washing machine.
"This is a very big washing machine," thought Terrible Thomas. Once cup of soap flakes is not very much."
He looked at Mary. Her eyes were closed. She was dozing
"Mary's back is turned," thought Terrible Thomas. "So I think I will put more soap flakes into the washing machine."
And he poured a second cup of soap flakes into the washing machine. Then a third cup. Then a fourth cup.
"It would be interesting," thought Terrible Thomas, "to see what would happen if I poured the whole box of soap flakes in." And he turned the big box upside down and poured all the soap flakes into the washing machine.
Pretty soon the soapsuds in the washing machine were as thick as ten snowstorms. They were so thick they rose to top of the washing machine and spilled over onto the floor. Before you could say "Terrible Thomas", the whole floor was covered with thick soapsuds and hot soapy water.
Terrible Thomas's feet got wet. Then his ankles got wet. Then the water lapped over Mary's big shoes as she sat dozing in her chair. The water crept inside her shoes and woke her up.
"Terrible Thomas!" cried Mary. What have you done!" And she ran over and turned off the washing machine. Then she ran out into the hall to get a mop to mop the floor with.
"Mary's back is turned", thought Terrible Thomas, "so I think I will go into the room next door and see why children are not allowed to play in there."
And he went out of the laundry room and into the room next door. It was Willie's workshop. Willie was sitting at a big worktable, mending a broken toaster.
"Hello, Willie," said Terrible Thomas.
"Hello," said Willie.
Willie was the handyman. A handyman is a man who fixes things. Willie could fix anything. He fixed sinks when they got stopped up and windows when they got stuck. He fixed radios and toasters and baby buggies and bikes.
On the wall of Willie's workshop was a big board with rows of little metal things that looked like sausages.
"What are those things on the board on the wall, Willie?", asked Terrible Thomas.
"They are fuses," said Willie.
"What are fuses?" asked Terrible Thomas.
"Fuses," said Willie, "help carry electricity upstairs to all the fifteen floors. They turn the lights on all over the building. They carry the electricity that puts pictures on your television set and makes your radio play music and turns the hands of the kitchen clock. They carry electricity to run the elevator and the washing machines and refrigerator and vacuum cleaners.
"And all that electricity," said Terrible Thomas, "is in those little fuses?"
"That's right," said Willies. He finished mending the broken toaster. "I'd Better put this toaster in the storeroom till the family that owns it gets back from their vacation." And he carried the toaster out of the workshop and down the hall to the storeroom.
"Willie's back is turned," thought Terrible Thomas, "and it would be interesting to take all the little fuses out of that big board and see what happens."
And he took all the fuses out of the big board.
And just like that - all the lights went out all over the building! They went out on the first floor and the second floor and the third floor. They went out on the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth floors.
They went out in living rooms where fathers were reading their papers. They went out in parlors where ladies were having tea. They went out in kitchens where cooks were cooking dinner. They went out in bedrooms where babies were having their baths.
And all over the building television sets sopped showing pictures. Radios stopped playing music. Clocks stopped telling time. Vacuum cleaners stopped cleaning carpets.
And halfway between the fifth and sixth floors the elevator stopped running. There was gentleman in the elevator, carrying four ice cream cones up to his four children on the fourteenth floor. He was standing next to a lady, who had a poodle on a leash. There they all were when the elevator suddenly stopped, halfway between the fifth and sixth floors. And the gentleman's ice cream began to melt. And the poodle, whose name was George, tried to catch the dripping ice cream and got it all over himself.
Down in the basement in the laundry room Mary had mopped up the floor and started the washing machine again, and she was waiting for Terrible Thomas's soapy clothes to be rinsed in clear water - when the washing machine suddenly stopped working. The clothes just sat there in the soapy water.
"Terrible Thomas!" cried Willie when the lights went out in the storeroom. "Have you been playing with those fuses?" And he ran out of the storeroom, forgetting to lock the door behind him. He ran into the workshop and saw Terrible Thomas. Terrible Thomas had some fuses in his hand, and he'd dropped some on the floor.
"Mary is right," said Willie. "You are just terrible. Now go and play somewhere else." And Willie shooed Terrible Thomas out the door and then put all the fuses back in their racks on the big board.
And presto! All the lights went back on all over the building. In living rooms. In dining rooms. In bedrooms. And in kitchens where cooks were cooking dinner. All the television sets showed pictures again. All the radios played music again. All the clocks were telling time again. The elevator started working again. George the poodle got off at the eleventh floor, dripping ice cream down the hall as he went. And the gentleman with the four ice cream cones got off at the fourteenth floor, dripping ice cream down the hall as he went.
And down in the basement Mary was so glad to see Terrible Thomas's clothes being rinsed in clear water that she forgot to wonder where Terrible Thomas was. And Willie was so busy checking to make sure none of the fuses was broken that he too forgot to wonder where Terrible Thomas was.
Terrible Thomas was in the storeroom. He had never been in there before because Willie had never left the door unlocked before.
The storeroom was full of trunks and suitcases and chairs and tables. In a corner by the radiator were six trunks piled on top of each other, with a big mirror propped on top of them. Next to the six trunks was one trunk standing by itself.
"If," thought Terrible Thomas, "I put a table on top of that trunk and a chair on top of the table and a suitcase on top of the chair, I could climb up o them and lean out and look at myself in that mirror."
So he put a table on top of the trunk and a chair on top of the table and a suitcase on top of the chair. Then he climbed up on the trunk and onto the table and onto the chair and onto the suitcase. Then he leaned way out to look at himself in the mirror.
He leaned out so far that he lost his balance and -crash! -he fell off the suitcase--down over the chair and onto the table and onto the trunk --and down onto the floor, where he skinned his knee.
And the suitcase fell of the chair and spilled open, and out onto the floor tumbled golf clubs and tennis rackets and fishing rods and reels. And the chair fell off the table and broke; and the table fell off the trunk and broke.
And Terrible Thomas sat on the floor and examined his skinned knee.
"Terrible Thomas!" he heard Mary call form the laundry room. "What was that terrible crash? Was that you? Where are you?"
Terrible Thomas, sitting on the floor sandwiched in between two big trunks, saw that he had found a very good hiding place.
"W will hide from Mary," he thought. And he sat very still. He heard Mary call "Willie! Have you seen Terrible Thomas?" but he didn't hear Willie answer.
Terrible Thomas sat very still and waited for Mary to find him. But he was so tired out with all the terribly interesting things he'd been doing all day that he put his head down o his knees and rested. And the next thing he knew, Terrible Thomas was fast asleep!
Outside in the hall Mary called, "Terrible Thomas!" but Terrible Thomas was so fast asleep he didn't hear her. Willie wasn't in his workshop, so Mary took the elevator up the to first floor, which was called the lobby, and asked the doorman and the man in the mail room, "Have you seen Terrible Thomas?"
An then she went up to the tenth floor to look for him.
And Willie, who had gone up to the seventh floor to fix a broken radiator, came down to the basement to lock up his workshop for the day. And when he passed the storeroom and saw that the door was open a crack, he pulled the door shut and locked it. Then he went upstairs.
Inside the storeroom Terrible Thomas slept. The sun grew into a big round ball outside the little storeroom window. Then it disappeared and a star came out. The sky was dark and the moon was shining through the storeroom window, and the clock on the storeroom door said half past six. Terrible Thomas woke up.
He knew that he was late for diner, so he hurried to the door. He turned the knob and pulled and pulled, but the door didn't open. Terrible Thomas knew that Willie must have locked it.
"Willie! Mary!" shouted Terrible Thomas. "I'm locked in the storeroom! Let me out!"
But nobody answered. Nobody heard him.
Terrible Thomas called and called and beat his fists on the storeroom door. And then he was so tired he had to stop for breath.
It was cold in the storeroom. Terrible Thomas was cold. He was hungry. He was frightened. He wanted his mother and father and Mary and his bright, warm home upon the tenth floor. Terrible Thomas huddled in a corner by the door and began to cry.
He was crying so hard he didn't hear the elevator when it stopped at the basement floor. He didn't hear the door open or the footsteps that sounded as Mary and Willie got out of the elevator. Willie had a bunch of keys in his hand.
"Let's look in the laundry room again", said Willie.
"SH-sh!" said Mary, "I thought I heard something."
She listened, and she heard Terrible Thomas crying. "He's in the storeroom!" cried Willie. He and Mary ran down the hall and Willie unlocked the storeroom door.
And there was Terrible Thomas, hungry and scared and shivering and miserable and crying, huddled in a corner.
"Oh, Mary!" cried Terrible Thomas. "I was hiding in the storeroom and I fell asleep. And when I woke up it was dark -and I thought you'd never find me! I thought I would have to stay in here all night!"
"We have been looking for you all over the building!" said Mary. "And our papa and mama have been looking for you all over the building! I hope," said Mary, "that you are ashamed of yourself for coming into the storeroom, where you don't belong, and hiding from me, which you shouldn't have done."
"Oh I am!" said Terrible Thomas. "From now on I am going to be a good boy even when everybody's back is turned and not do anything interesting at all! I am going to be the best boy in the whole building!"
"I hope so," said Mary. And then she looked around the storeroom. At the broken table and the broken chair. At the open suitcase. At the golf clubs and tennis rackets and fishing rods and reels scattered all over the floor.
"But I somehow doubt it," added Mary. "And until I see proof, I think I will just go right on calling you Terrible Thomas."
(PLEASE NOTE: for copyright reasons, legal reasons, respect for Helene and for any other reason I can think of, I wouldn't dream of recommending that anyone reads the document here and prints it for their own use - please go find and buy your own copy of the book!!)
MANY THANKS TO KEN for providing the scan and the text of 'TT'! :-)