Two sections of this book have appeared in Reader's Digest. The double appeal of the book for a young reading audience is Mr. Petite's apparent position as a sort of modern hermit as well as his informal observer's relationship with wild animals who have lived with him -- deer, mink, wild pigs and a coyote pup. In its warm attention to natural phenomena, the book reveals the rewards and pleasures of a solo existence oriented to the outdoor world. Mr. Petite is the author of last year's Mr. B. While he is no Gavin Maxwell for style or insight, his work should have interest for some part of that readership.