Harris and Me -- Gary Paulsen
Again with the laugh-riot.
The narrator is spending the summer with his cousin because his parents are too busy being drunk to take care of him (according to Angel Peterson, that's pretty autobiographical, unfortunately), and he and Harris get into all sorts of trouble. Yes, there are some moments of animal cruelty -- Harris blows up some frogs and beats up a rooster:
Harris was on his back, then on his hands and knees, and then on his back, rolling over and over, beating at what looked like a giant ball of dust and feathers and wings. This broiling mass of dust and profanity moved in the direction of the granary, bounced against the wall. I saw an arm shoot out of the middle and grab a piece of board and start beating the feathers until the dust settled and Harris was on his knees, holding the board with both hands, pounding on what seemed to be a tired feather duster on the ground.
But let me tell you, that rooster had it coming. For real. Ernie, like many roosters before him, is EEEVIL. He makes many EEEVIL appearances as the book progresses, and he generally ends up on top.
There's a little bit of swearing (Harris gets smacked every time he swears, but he just can't break the habit), the narrator has a secret stash of "dourty peectures" and some people might get bent out of shape about Harris playing war against the farm pigs:
Ten feet from the pigpen Harris looked back at me, a strange glint in his eye, and silently raised an eyebrow in question.
I nodded, ready to follow him, Ready for anything. Ready.
He waved an arm in the classic infantry follow-me wave and screamed.
"Arrrrrgggggh! Die you commie jap pigs!"
He threw is board/gun aside, hit the pen at a dead run, vaulted over the low board fence, and leapt spread-eagled on the sows.
I, of course, was helplessly laughing at that point, and it just got funnier. It was awesome. Great book. I'm still so weirded out by the school board's objections to the book -- I wouldn't have been surprised if someone freaked out about the swearing, about the un-PC bits, even about the "dourty peectures", but animal cruelty... Blowing up frogs is just something that kids DO when they grow up in a rural area. They did it before this book was ever written, they'll do it generations from now. Get over it.