It's disconcerting to meet the McBrooms in any but the Kurt Werth incarnation, especially as Frankenberg's 13 raspberry-haired yokels are less fetching than their predecessors. But the affable farmer's tales are as tall as ever when he gets to gabbing about the winter of the Big Freeze. That's the year when snowmen go south for the winter, red barns turn blue with the cold, and the smoke takes to freezing in the chimney and has to be blasted with a shotgun three times a day. During periods of thaw the family is pestered by a spook who imitates the sounds of the family's dead rooster, McBroom's voice calling the children, and the piccolos from a favorite Sousa recording. To no avail McBroom consults Widow Witherbee, burns a pile of old shoes to exorcise the spirit, and buys a ghost-hunting mongrel dog. Then one early spring day, when wolf howls from nowhere frighten away villainous neighbor Jones' invading hogs, "Glory be! It was clear to me now. There never had been a haunt lurking about! It was nothing but the weather playing pranks on us. . . . The sounds had frozen. And now all those sounds were thawing out!" More hayseed hyperbole from a ripsnorter.