Bet you're afraid to spend the night in the barn,"" challenges a boy to his younger brother and two visiting city cousins. Not them, they retort, though the younger brother's stutters reveal his hesitation. It's one dark barn, full of shrouded drop cloths that appear ghoulish in the gloomy light. Creaks and groans keep the boys alert, and the older brother gives his sibling a fair dose of grief, testing him, looking for weakness. By the time the sleeping bags are unfurled, the night sounds have spooked all. When the family dog galumphs into the picture, they are happy to have so stalwart a companion among them. Gibbons (King Shoes & Clown Pockets, 1989) composes a realistic story of young boys strutting their stuff, parading their courage, provoking but not tormenting one another. Ingraham (Mary Calhoun's Henry the Sailor Cat, 1994, etc.) provides varnished watercolors of closely observed nightscapes--skeletal trees stark against a dusky sky only a full moon can bring to effect, moving shadows, terrifying dark corners--with a delicacy of line that brings to mind the works of the Wyeth family.