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Roy Eberhardt

Independent, courageous, funny, logical, and kind-hearted, Roy is the main character in the book. He begins as a loner but eventually grows into a character who seeks out good relationships and uses his wit and intelligence to help others in many situations. When in a tight spot, he usually uses common sense and logic to find a way out of it. Roy is very level headed but cares deeply about his family and friends.

Beatrice Leep

Readers’ first impressions of Beatrice are less than pleasant; she is portrayed as a large, tough bully nicknamed “the Bear” for her temper and uncompromising ways. As the novel progresses, it is revealed that she comes from a rough home and that she has had to learn to defend herself and stand her ground. She protects her step-brother from his abusive mother and defends Roy from bullies. Despite her tough-girl exterior, she has a soft heart and is a fiercely loyal friend and confidant.

“Mullet-Fingers” Napoleon Bridger Leep

The first glimpse readers have of this precocious character is of his dirt-stained feet flying by Roy’s bus. A runaway who lives in the forest and in an abandoned ice-cream truck in a junkyard, Mullet Fingers is a feisty, stubborn kid who does not let anything or anyone get in the way of him living his life the way he wants to. His contentious relationship with his mother landed him in a boarding school, but he stayed there only briefly before running away. He is incredibly creative and tenacious, inventing new and harmless ways to delay the construction of the pancake house; his handling of alligators, snakes, and large equipment is impressive. Even when he is bit by a ferocious guard dog, he clings fiercely to his anonymity, refusing to be kept at the hospital long enough to be sent back to his unpleasant home. His highly unique personality and spunky spirit inspire Roy and others to fight against the pancake house.

Officer David Delinko

Officer Delinko is the good-hearted policeman who becomes involved with the pancake house fiasco, Roy, his friends, and the owls. He dreams of becoming a detective, so despite being banned from the construction site after his car is vandalized, Delinko takes it upon himself to catch the culprit behind the pranks. Officer Delinko is motivated and driven; he finds ways to ingratiate himself with Roy’s father, who is a federal agent, and by the end of the novel he is working his way up the ranks of the police force. Officer Delinko shows kindness to Roy and others, and in the end, he is a defender of the burrowing owls that the kids are trying to protect.

Dana Matherson

Dana is the school bully. Overweight and obtuse but remarkably creative with his use of profanity, Dana ends up in a juvenile detention center by the end of the novel. He bullies Roy relentlessly. After Roy breaks his nose, refuses to admit defeat or be cowed. Despite Roy’s peacemaking attempts and his humiliating experience in which Beatrice tied him to the flagpole dressed only in his underwear, Dana continues to bully and threaten Roy and his friends. Dana is not particularly intelligent; his parents are used to paying smarter students to do his homework. Roy manages to frame Dana for all of the pancake house pranks, but it is hard to feel sorry for him.

Leroy “Curly” Brannitt

Curly is the foreman hired to supervise the construction of the Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House. He is a rough character with a bit of a temper, but he has a soft...

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spot for Kimberly Lou Dixon, the Miss America pageant winner who sponsors the pancake house. He just wants to get along without any fuss; this leads him to stay quiet about the protected owls on the construction site and to stay overnight in the construction trailer so he will not lose his job over the pranks that have been occurring.

Chuck Muckles

Vice-President for Corporate Relations of Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House, Chuck is greedy, mean and corrupt. He violates restrictions against building on sites where the burrowing owl lives and bullies Curly into complying with his wishes.

Burrowing Owls

These owls, protected by the law in the novel, are small, innocent creatures in danger of being killed by the construction work on their land. They inspire the devotion and protection of most of the characters who become aware of them; they are the driving force behind the plot.




Critical Essays