From the moment Dolph discovers a litter of homeless puppies under the Cockleburr Street Kingdom of Heaven Church it's possible to guess that Cockleburr Quarters will be the scene of another of Baker's sermons on the virtues of kindness to animals, but it's just as apparent that this time the heavy accent on moral uplift won't interfere with an engrossing and funny story. In his desire to save the puppies Dolph defies the preacher Bruh Biggers, turns around the formidable Bible-quoting Mrs. Randall (""It says, 'A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.'...that means that there's a lot of folks I know calling themselves righteous and looked up to as righteous, who ain't."") and achieves a limited victory in spite of hard lessons on the high rate of puppy mortality and in the face of the impending ""renewal"" of the Quarters into a gardenless, petless housing project. The real rewards are in the everyday amusements of Dolph and company -- singing hymns (""Whaat a friendly hammer cheees us/ Aaaall loud Simpsons greeeasy bear...""), playing funeral, or just turning out to watch Jake worm the dogs (Jake drew a bigger crowd than Mrs. Randall's Bible stories had). The Cockeburr Quarters crowd talk and act like honest-to-goodness kids, and their peers (including reluctant readers) will accept the goodness for the sake of the good time.