From School Library Journal
Grade 4–7—At the beginning of summer vacation, the 12-year-old narrator wonders how he is going to get enough money to buy a new inner tube for his bike. Grandma comes to the rescue when she gives him her late husband's riding lawn mower and he starts mowing a few yards in the neighborhood. Within a month, he has 15 people working for him and more business than he can handle. Arnold, one of his customers and a home-based stock broker, invests some of the boy's earnings not only in the stock market but also in a prizefighter, helping him earn thousands of dollars. Gary Paulsen's enjoyable novel (Wendy Lamb Books, 2007) also offers lessons on how a free-market economy works, buffered by lots of wacky humor and the inclusion of improbable and unexpected events. Tom Parks does an excellent job of conveying the innocence and unbridled enthusiasm of the young man. However, the protagonist sounds younger than 12 and a Latino character sounds somewhat robotic. In spite of these quibbles, this is a fun and educational audiobook.—Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN
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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
*Starred Review* This short and hilarious tale pitches an ordinary preteen with an old riding lawn mower into a dizzying ascent up the financial ladder. His sights set no higher than a new inner tube for his bike, the young narrator is thrilled to make $60 in one day, mowing his neighbors' lawns. Just as demand for his services skyrockets, he meets Arnold, an honest, home-based stockbroker who becomes his business manager . . and less than a month later, the lad has a dozen migrant laborers in his employ. The legality of these workers is left vague, but their young employer treats them fairly, and the thousands of dollars he earns goes into some wildly successful investments--including sponsorship of a rising prizefighter whose help comes in handy when the burgeoning enterprise attracts a shakedown artist. Thanks to quick lessons in, to quote some of the chapter heads, "Capital Growth Coupled with the Principles of Product Expansion" and "Force of Arms and Its Application to Business," the young tycoon ends up smarter than when he started out, and worth half a million dollars. When it comes to telling funny stories about boys, no one surpasses Paulsen, and here he is in top form. John Peters
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