Oother is a big, gruff, widowed mountain man who lives with his small, gentle, pigtailed daughter, Pyn. While he loves Pyn, Oother is not the kind to soften for anyone; when Pyn calls him “Papa,” he responds with a grunt, “My name is Oother.” Patient, uncomplaining Pyn cooks and keeps house while Oother works all day in the woods. As Christmas draws near, Pyn longs for a tree to decorate, to help bring cheer into their humble cottage.
Young Liz is excited to be on her first hunting adventure with her dad who has just returned home from war; but she is also uneasy: her father has been gone so long that he and she are practically strangers. There are other things to get used to also: her new, too-large plaid flannel shirt from the dry goods store, the unfamiliarity of the breakfast fare on the menu at the diner, and the chilling changes that November brings to the woods Liz walks with her father, who, with gun in hand, is intent on killing the crows who have been eating the farm crops.
Fudge and Einstein, two charming, raisin-loving pet ferrets, are in trouble! Their owner, Andrea, is cat-sitting for a friend, and Marvel, the visiting cat, mistakes the ferrets for tasty rats! Fudge and Einstein must come up with a plan to save themselves from being Marvel's "ferret fritters fur-ever."
The middle child between two sets of twins, Miri feels overlooked and out of place even in her own family. Not only that, but, unlike most of her friends, she still likes to play pretend games and still wants to believe that magic is real even though nothing magical has ever happened to her. Miri and family have just moved into an old house, and her small bedroom, with its worn and ugly wallpaper, seems strange to her. Sent to her bedroom after hitting her brother, Miri discovers a glasses lens taped to one of the walls.
When little Betty Bunny has chocolate cake for the first time, it’s love at first taste. “I want to marry chocolate cake!” she says to her family. Betty Bunny longs for more. But, being "a handful," as her mother puts it, she has trouble behaving and being patient enough to earn her next serving.
A story told from the animal's point of view, a female gopher snake is captured by a "filthy, fleshy human child" named Gunnar. The boy calls the snake "Crusher," and puts his new "pet" in a terrarium in his bedroom, next to cages occupied by wild animals that Gunnar has captured but since lost interest in. While looking for her chance to escape, Crusher observes Gunnar and his habits, his family, friends, and his love of video games.