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Bird Bonanza

Illustrated by Peter Francis



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About The Book

Nancy and her friends must unearth the person who sabotaged the River Heights Nature Park’s fundraiser in the eighteenth book in the interactive Nancy Drew Clue Book mystery series.

Nancy, Bess, and George are excited to be attending Bird Bonanza Camp. They’ll spend their time learning all about different kinds of birds and taking part in fun crafts and activities. The highlight of the week is the Great Bird Count, an event where local bird watchers and ornithologists catalog every bird they see to help keep track of the health of the area’s bird population. George is especially excited because one lucky participant will win a pair of PowerTron 5000s, binoculars so strong you can practically see to the moon!

But when someone breaks into a greenhouse and destroys the plants being kept there, the girls suddenly have a new case. The park was planning to sell the now-ruined bird-friendly flowers and shrubs to help fund their activities for the year and help keep the nature preserve running. Even worse, the PowerTron 5000s have gone missing! Without the grand prize, the park’s director thinks she might need to cancel the Great Bird Count.

Can the Clue Crew find the birdbrain responsible for the damage in time to save the big day?


Chapter 1: Swag Bag Snag Chapter 1 SWAG BAG SNAG
“I’m a Bluebird,” Nancy announced. It was the first day of Bird Bonanza Camp at the River Heights Nature Park. Nancy had found her name on the list at the sign-in table in the Welcome Center. Next, she ran her finger down the page, looking for BESS MARVIN and GEORGE FAYNE, her two best friends. “We’re all on Team Bluebird,” Nancy reported happily. Bess and George squealed with delight.

“Here’s the plan,” said George. She whipped a calculator out of her back pocket. “If we each learn to identify five new birds per day… That’s five times three…” She stuck out her tongue as she punched the numbers on the keypad.

“We know you want to win the Big Bird Count raffle prize,” Bess said, narrowing her eyes at George. The girls were cousins as well as friends. “But I’m here for bird-watching, not bird-counting.”

“The top prize in the big count is a pair of PowerTron 5000s,” George gushed. “You can practically see to the moon with binoculars that strong. I have to win!” George had a pile of electronic gadgets at home, but she could never get enough.

“It’s not a contest,” Nancy reminded her. “It’s a raffle. Everyone who participates in the Big Bird Count gets their name entered. You have as good a chance as anyone to win.”

George groaned. “But I don’t know the names of many birds. You have to know what the birds are called for your numbers to count.”

“That’s what Bird Bonanza Camp is for.” Bess held up a small bird guide she had tucked in the outside pocket of her lunch cooler. She liked to be super prepared for every adventure. “Nancy and I will quiz you. We’ll describe a bird, and you can guess what kind it is.”

“We’ll all learn together.” Nancy’s blue eyes twinkled.

“That plan is for the birds—in a good way.” George grinned.

“Let’s go grab our swag bags,” suggested Bess. She pointed to a swarm of campers crowded around a table on the other side of the room. The kids were all wearing baseball caps in different colors—red, orange, yellow, and black. “I think our team hats are in those bags.”

As the girls made their way over to the swag bag station, three black-capped Chickadees moved away, and Nancy, Bess, and George took their spots. The table was piled high with Bird Bonanza backpacks, each with a camper’s name on it.

“I found mine,” said Nancy. She pulled out a blue cap and placed it on her head, over her reddish-blond hair. Then she stowed her lunch bag inside her new backpack.

“I can’t find mine,” George complained.

“Do I need the Clue Book?” Nancy asked. She patted her back pocket where she kept the special notebook she shared with her friends. They used it to write down suspects and clues when they had a big mystery to solve. The third-graders were the best detectives at River Heights Elementary School. They’d even formed a club called the Clue Crew.

“Mystery solved. I found it,” Bess called. Her blond waves peeked out from under her blue hat as she handed the bag to her cousin. “They wrote your real name on it—Georgia.” Bess smirked. She knew how much George hated her real name.

“No one better call me that. That’s all I have to say,” George grumbled as she yanked her cap sideways on top of her dark curls. She and her cousin put their lunch bags in their new swag bags and zipped them up.

A boy squeezed into the crowd next to Nancy. He wore black pants, a white collared shirt, a top hat, shiny shoes, and a red magician’s cape—not exactly the best outfit for spending a day outdoors.

“Hey, Jason,” another boy on the opposite side of the table called out. “Where have you been? I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”

“I’ve been around. What did you think, Peter? That I did my famous disappearing act?”

Peter shrugged.

Jason had already grabbed his swag bag. He unzipped it and Nancy could see that he’d stashed his lunch bag inside. Jason frowned. “There’s nothing fun in here,” he griped. “Just a dumb hat, a trail map, and… What’s this?” He held up a piece of paper that had been rolled up like a scroll.

“It’s our list of activities,” Peter explained as he unrolled and read his own sheet of paper. “It looks like we have a birdsong workshop first, then a hike to do some bird-watching at Turkey Trench. Bird Bonanza Camp is going to be awesome!”

“I can’t believe Mom made us go to nature camp,” Jason complained. “At magician camp, they give out magic wands.” He shoved the blue cap on his head, then placed his top hat carefully in the bag on top of his lunch.

“Mom didn’t make us go to nature camp. I wanted to go, remember? And I won the coin toss, so I got to choose.” Unlike his brother, Peter was dressed for the outdoors. Nancy noticed he also wore a blue baseball cap.

Nancy, Bess, and George shot one another quizzical looks. It was obvious from their hats that the brothers were on Team Bluebird too. Nancy could tell what her friends were thinking: We’re not going to have to listen to these guys squabble all week, are we?

Just then, a young woman with short dark curly hair and a kind smile approached them. She was wearing cargo pants with deep pockets, and a pair of binoculars hung around her neck. “There you are, Bluebirds. My name is Lauren, and I’m your team leader.” She checked her clipboard. “There are five of you on my list, and I see five blue hats. Would you please tell me your names?”

“I’m Nancy, and these are my best friends, Bess and George.” Bess smiled, and George gave a quick wave.

“I’m Peter, and this is my brother, Jason.”

“You can call me Mr. Magic,” Jason added. “Everyone does.”

Peter scowled at his brother. “No one calls you Mr. Magic. You just want people to call you that.”

Jason stuck out his tongue.

“Welcome to Bird Bonanza Camp,” Lauren said, ignoring the sibling spat. “We have tons of fun planned and—”

“Aaaahhh!” Bess shrieked, tossing her backpack on the floor. “Help! It’s a snake!”

George kneeled by Bess’s bag and peeked inside, then giggled. “You dodo. It’s made of rubber. See?”

Bess reached in and carefully touched the object that had given her such a bad scare. “A fake snake? Who put that in my bag?”

“I did,” Jason crowed. “Pretty good trick, right? You didn’t even see me do it.”

“That’s not funny,” said Bess, crossing her arms.

“Or nice,” Nancy added.

George chuckled. “Maybe it was a little funny.”

“Whose side are you on?” Bess asked, pouting at her cousin.

Lauren cleared her throat to get the group’s attention. “Loud noises scare the birds away, Bluebirds, so no more tricks or pranks, especially outdoors. Okay, Jason?”

“Okay, no more tricks,” he promised.

For now,” Nancy heard him mutter softly.

About The Author

Carolyn Keene is the author of the ever-popular Nancy Drew books.

About The Illustrator

Peter Francis lives in Brighton, UK, where he spent a number of years as an illustrator for children’s television before turning to books. When not painting in his studio, he enjoys long coastal walks, exploring local history, and growing vegetables.

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More books from this author: Carolyn Keene

More books from this illustrator: Peter Francis

More books in this series: Nancy Drew Clue Book