Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-3779-0 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-3781-3 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 2-4
Zach likes the fact that his family’s move brings them close to his grandparents’ farm, where he spends most weekends helping with chores or just goofing off in time-honored farm ways. What he doesn’t like is the big tom turkey who chases after Zack with savage pecks every time the two meet; Zack therefore decides, with the help of new friends, to build a turkey-scaring device. Meanwhile, valuable objects are going missing—can the friends find the solution to the mystery as well as to the turkey bully? Naylor writes this well-crafted story with her usual smooth accessibility and plausibility. The turkey’s attacks really are scary, if not all that dangerous, and it’s utterly believable that Zack the tinkerer gets swept up in the joy of creation itself with his elaborate Rube Goldberg machine. The mystery plot is nicely entry level with a benign solution, and the subplot of Zack’s growing friendships is pleasantly understated. Quick chapters will suit early readers or readers aloud, while full-page black and white illustrations hover between cartoon and realism and add spirit.