Summary Chapter 1 Jim Anderson and his parents Harold and Mrs. Anderson recently moved to Kendal from Savanna La Mar where his father worked as a mechanic. It was during the Christmas vacation that he met three boys in this new Village: Mule, Mongoose and Milo who were spinning tops for fun. The boys laughed at Jim’s feet because unlike them, Jim wore shoes. While Jim was telling the boys of his hobbies like helping the mechanics (such as his father), going swimming and helping the fishermen row in their canoes, the boy who appeared to be the leader, Milo, was getting jealous.
A while after Jim had introduced himself to the boys he asked to join their secret club and was tricked into giving them all 15 of his marbles without being allowed to join the club. The boys who though that it was impossible, gave Jim a test to catch a hawk alive in order to join the club. Summary Chapter 2 On his way home, Jim thought of his task of catching the hawk. While walking, he stumbled upon Baba, an old man who spoke with much colloquial language, liked smoking tobacco and lived in a very small, sparsely furnished house.
He explained his task of catching the hawk to Baba and Baba later told him of a plan to catch the hawk whom he called Mr. Big. According to Baba’s plan, Jim found a calabash gourd with soft, tender flesh. He found some feathers around the yard and stuck them in the gourd which he shaped to look like a chicken. When the hawk swooped down to pick it up he would get stuck and the hawk would be caught. Later that night Jim had a dream that he was flying behind the hawk towards the mountains but the bird flew through a hole and Jim was shut out.
Did this mean that the bird would escape his trap? Summary Chapter 3 On the fifth day after setting the trap Jim went to town and was jeered by the boys that he wouldn’t catch the bird. On the sixth day the hawk came and was caught in Jim’s trap. Jim was afraid to get the hawk from the gourd now and take him back to his cage. In a small space of time, some of the villagers who wanted the hawk dead came marching up and asked Baba if they had seen the hawk but they replied no. When Jim and Baba began examining the bird they realized that it had broken one of its legs; so they nursed the ird and made a bamboo cage for him and Jim decided to keep the hawk for himself until he got better. Summary Chapter 9 Christmas vacation came to an end so Jim had to return to school. As a result, Baba had to take care of Mr. Big while Jim was in school. Baba took Mr. Big to “the bush” where Mr. Big responded happily to his environment. Although his leg was not fully healed, Mr. Big moved from branch to branch and eventually was flying on the chord. Baba realized Mr. Big trusted him and that they now had a friendship. This made Baba content.