After discovering The Guinness Book of World Records, Teddy’s determined to achieve a world record, too.
How can a 10-year-old manage it? He’s constrained by his six remarkable siblings, all marching to the beats of their own drummers, a device debut author Burnham uses to make each of them readily distinguishable. The most difficult, from Teddy’s viewpoint, is 4-year-old Jake, aka “The Destructor,” who shares Teddy’s bedroom, enjoys napping in a (clean) cat box and often unintentionally destroys Teddy’s belongings. Teddy gets a tent for his birthday, then pitches it in the backyard and moves out. That provides the opportunity to learn more about the 57 pigeons owned by his grumpy, elderly next-door neighbor, who hires him to care for the birds. The pigeons could be his key to a world record, if, with lots of peanut-buttered birdseed and helpful friends, they’ll all land on him at once. As revealed in his engaging, age-appropriate, first-person narration, things rarely work out as planned. Although they provide ample drama, Teddy’s large family is—unexpectedly—engaged in his pratfall-riddled pursuit. Bizarre actual world records are neatly incorporated into the narrative. Ample white space, large print and Spencer’s drolly entertaining illustrations inflate the page count somewhat for the younger middle-grade audience.
Fans of world-record quests and those who enjoy lighthearted tales will savor Teddy’s efforts. (Fiction. 8-12)