Working on his grandparents’ farm every weekend is mostly fun for Zack.
But as soon as that old turkey Tailpipe spots Zack, the bird flies at him and pecks him without mercy. Zack tries all sorts of schemes and tricks to evade him, to no avail. Then he is inspired by the things he sees in grandfather’s machine shed and comes up with a genius idea. He will build a contraption, a “turkey-blaster trouble-shooter” that will scare that bird so he will stay away from Zack. Meanwhile, neighbor Josie informs him that things have been disappearing and she is convinced that a robber is on the prowl. Now Zack has two things to worry about. When his friend Matthew joins in with outrageous suggestions, hilarity ensues. The three white friends work together on the ever more elaborate machine, and their interpretations of the burglary clues become more complicated. The children meet the challenges with great ingenuity and good humor. Naylor keeps the tone light and the plot twists simple and believable. Readers will sympathize with Zack’s dilemma while laughing in sheer joy at the convoluted attempts at besting that turkey, and they will probably guess the thief’s identity, too. Several full-page, detailed, black-and-white illustrations highlight the quirky events and add to the fun.
Charming and lighthearted. (Fiction. 8-11)