Last year the author wrote a partial autobiography, All Creatures Great and Small, in which he described the animals he had known and owned. Much the best part of the book was his description of the wild pets he had kept as a boy. Like Dana Martin, the 11 year old hero of this book, Mr. Mannix was once an intimate of skunks. His experience lends an aroma of reality to Dana's dilemmas. Dana has just moved to exurbia with his parents who have started to fret over Dana's lonely ways. Dana is not the least concerned over his lack of human companionship. The pleasure he takes in discovering nature's vagaries after a lifetime of city living is complete when his patience and intestinal fortitude overcome the shyness of a wounded skunk. The fun really begins when Dana's father finds out the hard way that his son is playing host to a whole family of skunks. The beauty part comes when Dana shows two possible new friends that there is more than one way to use a tame skunk after their visit is rudely interrupted by the town bully. The excellent dialogue and the realistic relationships between adults and children make this good fiction and, face it, there is nothing funnier than a full skunk in brisk action at this age level.