One can picture the narrator settling into his rocking chair and polishing up his best countrified expressions for this tale of a storybook old lady, Mrs. Pinckney, who lived at the edge of the Coolewahee Swamp back in ""the early days of our Republic""; her rambunctious dog June the Tiger (""dadburn his hide. . . both my brothers-in-law put together aren't half as smart. . ."") and the villainous bear, Old Scamp, who is June the Tiger's special enemy. Even after Old Scamp vandalizes Mrs. Pinckney's neat kitchen and ruins her featherbed, it might still take some stretching for city kids to relish his death at the hands of June and a local gentleman named Billy the Bull. Fort successfully commandeers our sentiments on the side of plucky, scruffy June but of course it's his courtly, cornpone language (""any bear is liable to get a bit overanxious in the kitchen. . . I daresay he would eat anything from horseflies to cactus spurs"") that will delight ears starved by the brittle, pared down prose in fashion nowadays. This here's laid on a bit thick--in future visits to Coolawahee Swamp we'd as soon have more plot and do without ladies who cry ""boo-hoo""--but there's an authority in the voice that should convince antsy listeners to sit a spell and hear him out.