Kart (Spy in the Sky, 1997, etc.) embellishes her reputation for spirited, comic adventures with this tale of a young entrepreneur who drives a thousand head--of turkeys--from Missouri to Denver in 1860. Strapping Simon Green can't pass third grade (he's tried four times), but he's a canny businessman: After learning that two-bit turkeys will sell for $5.00 in Denver, he persuades his former teacher to bankroll him, hires a drunken muleskinner for help, and sets out, braving weather, rivers, rustlers, clouds of grasshoppers (not exactly a disaster, with a thousand turkeys to feed) and other hazards, picking up two orphans--one a fugitive slave, the other sole survivor of her settler family--along the way. Karr draws characters with a very broad brush, contrasting a bloodthirsty troop of US cavalry with a helpful band of Pottawattomie--"" 'As official peacekeepers for our territory, we feel it incumbent upon ourselves to see that nothing unorthodox occurs on our lands' ""--and supplying an inept, eminently boo-able villain in Samson, Simon's unscrupulous father. Not only do the turkeys practically herd themselves, they fetch an even higher price in Denver than Simon expects; in the end, with his new partners and a few dozen birds, he decides to try ranching. A wide-open western epic, inspired by actual drives and featuring a cast of capable young people.