Pop is proud of his vegetable garden, fertilised by his ‘stink bowl’ of industrial strength compost. When given a pet magpie,(called Pie) which he refuses to keep in a cage because, “Big birds aren’t meant to be caged - not even imports from Australia” he at first sees it as a means of keeping veggie-menacing insects out of his garden.
But Pie’s interests range far beyond earwigs and mealy bugs, and he finds Pop’s seedlings as appealing as Pop does. He goes too far, however, when he adds Pop’s car keys to the stink bowl.
Obviously a solution has to be found, and it is as ingenious as the magpie himself. Jo Thapa’s vivid illustrations enhance this entertaining read (or read- aloud) which should appeal to a wide age group. June Peka is well-known as a gardening writer, and the story has the ring of personal experience about it.