Scotty and the Gypsy Bandit by David Winkler

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McStew (a.k.a. the Gypsy Bandit) is one strange next-door neighbor. It isn't unusual for eleven-year-old Scotty Hansen to find McStew outside burying household appliances with his invisible sidekick named Reese, or plotting ways to vanquish the evil pirate Blackheart. And when Scotty decides to build the tree house his father had planned before his death, McStew, who has an abusive home life, sees it as an opportunity to move in. But soon McStew vanishes altogether, and though he's physically not there anymore, his oddball influence over the lives of Scotty, Scotty's mother, and a number of other people grows stronger than ever. There's romance, a murder, mystery, and plenty of aggravation in store for Scotty in his previously uncomplicated world, and readers will find themselves drawn into it by a fast-paced plot and characters who are smart, funny, and full of heart.

About David Winkler

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David Winkler is a schoolteacher in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he lives with his wife and daughter. This is his first book.
Published March 27, 2000 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 198 pages
Genres: Children's Books. Fiction

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However, delicate moments such as the description of Scotty's mother when she talks about his dad (""a voice stuffed in cotton"") or vivid scenes of McStew talking like a pirate while he digs up ""buried treasure"" (his mother's household appliances) show Winkler's talent.

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