Ten-year-old twins Lacey and Casey Nicefolk are fascinated by Sucoh Sucop, the mysterious old man who comes to work on their family's farm. Whenever Sucop isn't working in the fields he disappears into the barn to secretly work on something that no one is allowed to see. Then suddenly, one day Sucop announces he is leaving but before he goes he ...
Ten-year-old twins Lacey and Casey Nicefolk are fascinated by Sucoh Sucop, the mysterious old man who comes to work on their family's farm. Whenever Sucop isn't working in the fields he disappears into the barn to secretly work on something that no one is allowed to see. Then suddenly, one day Sucop announces he is leaving but before he goes he leaves Lacey and Casey with a magical gift. This tiny copper box doesn't look much but if you press its left lever, in a swirl of purple smoke and sparkles, any toy you want will magically become life-size. When the twins decide to try this out with Casey's toy aeroplane, Vin Fiz (named after his favourite soda), they can't even imagine the adventures that lie ahead! Along with their basset hound Floopy, Lacey and Casey find themselves rescuing a town from gold thieves, saving a steamboat on the Mississippi river, stopping a runaway train, catching bandits and stopping a boat from going over Niagara Falls all with the help of Vin Fiz - who it turns out is no ordinary aeroplane!
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Publishers Weekly, 2007-05-28 When a strange farmhand gives twins Casey and Lacey a device that makes toys life size, the two enlarge a model replica of the Wright Brothers' plane and use it to fly across the Midwest and help those in trouble in this "genial, at times suspenseful, caper" said PW. Ages 7-up. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-12-19 Bestselling adult author Cussler meshes fantasy and adventure in this lighthearted tale, which opens on a California farm. After an itinerant farmhand arrives to help the Nicefolk family with the harvest, twin 10-year-old siblings Casey and Lacey begin to hear "unexplainable tinkling and clinking noises" coming from the barn. On his departure, the stranger gives the kids a contraption that can make toys life-size-but they must only use the device to do good and must keep it a secret. Cussler sets his tale at a time when steamboats still traveled the Mississippi: Casey builds a replica of the Wright brothers' biplane, Flyer, which he names Vin Fiz (after his favorite soda pop), and uses the magical machine to enlarge it. The twins and their dog take off on a cross-country flight in the aircraft, which possesses a "mystical vision" that draws it to people in danger. Under her guidance, the youngsters help free Nevada townsfolk forced by scoundrels to labor in a gold mine, halt a runaway train overtaken by bandits in Ohio and stop two girls from tumbling over Niagara Falls. Cussler sprinkles his folksy narrative with instructional notes ("A line, by the way, is nautical talk for rope") and facts (almost 800,000 gallons of water rush over Niagara Falls every second), and characters' names emphasize the text's tall-tale quality (e.g., Ever and Ima Nicefolk, Stoke and Blaze Firepit). This genial, at times suspenseful, caper wraps up with a note about the real Vin Fiz, and Farnsworth's drawings dramatize the climactic scenes. Ages 7-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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