Not sure what to make of the book as a gender statement. It's all the typical stuff: adventure and sports.
Neubecker's best work is when he presents the complex pictures inside the boy's imagination, showing a world where the fantasy acts out in detail. The page with the jungle had illustrations that remind me of some of Sendak's scarier ink drawings. I thought the ending was trite, until he added one more page to show the boy imagining again.