Zack and the Turkey Attack!
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, illus. by Vivienne To. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $16.99 (176p)
Zack likes visiting his grandparents’ farm with his father, pitching in with chores and enjoying Grandma’s delectable meals. What he doesn’t like is the giant turkey that chases him around the farm, feverishly pecking at his legs. Exasperated, Zack attempts to map out walking routes across the farm so as to avoid the turkey, which he’s nicknamed Tailpipe “because he was always right behind you and made as much noise as a tailpipe without a muffler.” When that tactic fails, he decides to build a “turkey-blaster trouble-shooter” to scare the creature “right out of his feathers.” With the help of friends Matthew and Josie, Zack constructs a noise-making contraption using old items stored in the barn. Though that laborious process slows the story’s stride, a mystery involving missing jewelry and a suspected burglar help keep things moving. At its heart, this is a homespun novel underscoring the importance of family and friends, themes that will be familiar to Naylor’s many fans, and that are reinforced by To’s atmospheric b&w illustrations of farm hijinks. Ages 7–11. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/11/2017