The story of Howard "Ozark Monk" Hefley and the critters who roam the hills and hollers with him in the Ozark Mountains gives new meaning to the phrase "man's best friend." Young Monk communes with nature to the degree that his closest pals--a cur dog named Danny Boy, a pet racoon named Joe, and a tame black snake called Curly--are his permanent appendages. They go on fishing expeditions, to basketball games, and even to his one-room schoolhouse, much to the dismay of some adults around him. The antics and mishaps of boy and beast will keep readers laughing and sometimes crying until the last page is turned. Even Howard's nickname, "Monk," handed him because of his monkey-like ability to skinny up a tree, connotes his identity with the animal world as he grows up in Newton County, Arkansas. Among his stories, include, wedging himself in a hollow tree and almost getting eaten alive by black ants, only to be rescued by mean 'ole Hobert Criner, on whom he has just played a horrendously dirty trick. He tells of stuffing a skunk in the principal's desk, stinking up the school and of the time when pint-sized Curly becomes a champion squirrel hunter, and much, much more. Tagged the "Huck Finn of the Ozarks," Monk teams up with his brother James Carl, author of Way Back in the Hills and Way Back When, in this hilarious, heartwarming story of a boy, his 'coon, and his dog.