cover image The Case of the Dirty Bird

The Case of the Dirty Bird

Gary Paulsen. Yearling Books, $3.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-440-40598-6

These lively stories kick off the Culpepper Adventures series, which Paulsen conceived in the hopes of converting reluctant readers-or those hooked on TV-to reading. Kids, especially middle-grade boys, will willingly turn off the set to follow the spirited antics of 10-year-old Dune Culpepper and his bumbling best friend, Amos. In these inaugural escapades, the two self-styled sleuths manage to uncover the cache of a ring of appliance thieves with the help of an 150-year-old parrot and escape from a fierce watchdog to discover who stole a valuable antique doll. Blending spunky characters, zippy dialogue and comical, sometimes outlandish, plots, Paulsen shows that he is every bit as adept at serving up reading fare that is lighter than his usual offerings. Ten more tales are promised in this well-intentioned, well-executed series. Ages 8-12. (July)