In a set of popular tales from a Hans Christian Andersen Award–winning author, a young lad arrives in town with nothing but a tow truck and finds a home as well as friends both human and animal.
First published beginning in 1971 but available in the United States for the first time, the 40 episodic chapters largely chronicle a series of rescues. Hardly has Pluck (originally “Pluk”) settled into a vacant apartment atop the Pill Building than he’s saved shy cockroach Zaza from poisoning, gotten young neighbor Aggie away from her neatnik mother, and rescued Dizzy, a squirrel afraid of heights, from a treetop. With his red truck and help from adult friends, plus a sea gull with a wooden leg, an invisible Tootenlisp that lives in a seashell, a pigeon that can poop with pinpoint accuracy, and the aptly named Stampers—six rambunctious boys and their single dad—he goes on to other exploits. These include plucking a sea gull from an oil slick, preventing a patch of woodland from being paved over, and responsibly chopping down a magic bush whose berries make grown-ups ignore fires and other emergencies in favor of horsing around like children. Westendorp, the original illustrator, adds jaunty, full-color scenes featuring an all-white cast of dot-eyed (usually) cartoon figures in mid-20th-century dress. A surprise birthday party for Pluck brings most of the cast back onstage one final time.
Young fans of Pippi Longstocking will admire this budding eco-warrior, both for his independence and his determination to help others in need. (Fiction. 9-11)