Right from the opening tense episode in which 12-year-old Twitch successfully intervenes to prevent a group of lads from hurting a pigeon, this pacey adventure story immediately grabs your attention and ensures you’re already rooting for a boy who prefers the company of birds to most humans.
It’s the start of the school summer holidays which means Twitch will have plenty of time to spend on his favourite pastime of bird spotting from his secret den in the local nature reserve. Plus, there’s chickens to tend at home and a pair of pigeons he is keen to train. When Twitch hears news of a bank robber on the run and that a haul of loot may be hidden within the area of woodland where he has his hide, the scene is set for him to apply his bird watching skills in order to solve a mystery which has so far foiled the police.
Set alongside the many twists and turns of the accomplished plot is a joyous, human story about the qualities of friendship and attaining self-confidence through being true to yourself. Twitch is a very likable, loyal and humorous boy with whom young readers will easily identify. The relationship he establishes with the pigeons which he patiently trains, the difficult journey of his friendship with Jack (his erstwhile nemesis) and the pleasure he derives from observing bird behaviour are features which greatly enrich the story.
For those readers who are fans of the author’s previous Beetle Boy series, there is much to enjoy in the celebration of the natural world and the specialist information which is deftly sprinkled throughout the story. M. G. Leonard has the wonderful knack of being able to seamlessly both entertain and educate her young reader encouraging them to be more curious and excited about the birds that frequent our cities and suburban gardens.