Rufus the puppy lives with an unnamed child on a small green island that sits in the middle of a bright blue bay. Poor Rufus is afraid of everything. Butterflies, bunnies, crickets -- all send him scuttling away, tail between his legs. The child who owns him teases Rufus for being such a ""scaredy dog."" One day, while Rufus and the child are throwing a ball on the beach, they see a mother swan and her four cygnets. Rufus, of course, is frightened and starts whimpering as he prepares to run away. The child, however, is not afraid of swans and reaches down toward one of the cygnets. The mother swan starts hissing and rushes out of the water toward the child, who is by now very frightened. But Rufus, intent upon protecting his friend, barks and growls enough to scare the nipping, angry swan away, saving the day. A lighthearted story about the meaning of true bravery, enhanced by fanciful, sunny watercolors.