Runt knows there are things within him that makes him different; just what they are is not clear. The only good thin in hie life is Beem his slightly older niece.
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George (Runt) Woodrum struggles with his unknown affliction, Dyslexia, and wonders why he can't advance in school. He knows he's not lazy or dumb, but can't understand why he isn't able to read like everyone else. While his older brother skips grades, he has to repeat them. He learns other ways to vent his frustration. Things like being expelled from school, burning out fields of crops, and nearly burning down the garage, breeding his father's purebred border collie to a mutt and many other adventures while often accompanied by his slightly older niece. His many misadventures often end in a hard-learned lesson. While the family struggles to make it through the war torn years of WW II, his one legged father drinks himself into ruin, losing the farm. Finally, as the big bombs drop over Japan, his mother drops her own bomb letting out a secrete the family knew nothing about.