"Mean?" That's McBroom's opening word here, and before he's through regaling us with neighbor Heck Jones' cussedness, he's got the old pest laid up in his parlor, claiming a broken leg. It seems the only way to get Heck Jones out is for McBroom to agree to a footrace, with "my farm against yours" as the stake. And that's well and good except that Heck Jones shows up for the race on a mongrel beast he identifies as a jackalope, and McBroom has no choice but to mount his giant "bull chicken" Gertrude, who stops along the way to browse on cockleburs. Fleischman schedules the race at the end of a cold winter, so there are more complications--folks' shadows have been frozen to the ground all winter, and when Heck Jones goes back for his he puts on a wolf shadow by mistake. Then just as the shadow loses Heck Jones the race (never mind how), the new schoolhouse collapses because the nails he had sold the town to build it were really icicles, now melting in the general thaw. Fleischman seems to toss all these whoppers together without half trying. Let's hope he doesn't begin to run clown just when he's found Lorraine, whose kindergarten-style pictures match not only Fleischman's helter-skelter rusticity but his wit and high spirits as well.