The Moran family follies continue as Hunter and Zack search low and high for town father and soup magnate Lester Tinwitty’s storied buried treasure.
Under the twining ivy, the carvings on Tinwitty’s 1905 gravestone seem to offer clues. Followed, usually, by little brother Steadman and his dog, Fred, the Moran twins grasp one interpretation of the mysterious signs after another, chasing after the treasure that will allow them to fulfill their ever changing dreams. But Bradley the Bully always seems to get there first. Hunter describes their madcap pursuit and ensuing trail of disaster in a fast-paced, first-person narrative that stretches over a week. There’s plentiful dialogue, and each short chapter is headed with a black-and-white illustration. Hunter’s world is small, consisting mainly of his large family (six siblings), his good friend, Sarah Yulefski, his enemy, Bradley, and two parochial school teachers: Sister Ramona, who discovers his percussive talents, and the fearsome Sister Appolonia. It feels like a world of the past, and it’s a grand place to visit. Readers who haven’t already met the Moran family in the first two volumes are in for a treat. A major strength of this series is the underlying warm family feeling; Hunter’s continuing efforts to teach his baby sister to say his name are just one example.
The nonstop action and near-slapstick humor will surely please Hunter’s middle-grade fans. (Fiction. 8-12)