Like the tall tales he spun, biographical data on Sergeant John Timothy O'Keefe cannot be authenticated. It is sufficient to know that in the year 1881 he operated the weather station on Pike's Peak for the Army Signal Corps, where, in the company of his trusty mule Balaam, he created or experienced (?) some mighty strange, hair-raising and outright funny adventures. Harold Felton shares some of these tall tales with young readers and Leonard Everett Fisher adds the light touch with his strong woodcuts. The sometimes cagey, sometimes credulous listener to these stories is Judge Price. There was the time Pike's Peak was treated to a whitewash job, another when some fancy mathematical calculations proved Balaam to be the most valuable mule in the world. Sugar-eating rats descending from the mountains might frighten the reader but they never faze the old Sergeant. In each catastrophe, O'Keefe and/or Balaam survive skill and common sense. ""Well what do you know"" echoes the audience.