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Lawn Boy Paperback – March 24, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

*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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553494651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553494655
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers. He has written more than one hundred book for adults and young readers, and is the author of three Newberry Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#58 in Books > Teens
#58 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on July 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
LAWN BOY provides some quick entertainment. It's a very manageable read at less than 90 pages. Readers are treated to quite a few laughs and a little business education.

The main character is a 12-year-old boy. His grandmother gives him a riding lawn mower for his birthday. She says it was his late grandfather's mower. Miracle of all miracles, the thing actually works, and he sets about mowing their pitiful excuse for a yard.

When he finishes the yard, a neighbor wonders if he can get his own lawn mowed. Soon he's mowing for the whole neighborhood. In a few short days, he has over three hundred dollars stuffed in his pockets.

Arnold, a stay-at-home stockbroker, would like his lawn mowed; but he admits to being short on cash. He offers a deal -- mow his lawn and he'll invest the cost of the mowing in the stock market and hopefully increase the investment. Boy, does he!

Before he knows it, he has a growing business and more money than he can even imagine. He has a stock portfolio that would be the envy of any businessperson. And just think, his only dream at the start of the summer was to have enough to afford a new inner tube for his bike tire.

The problem now is how do you break it to your parents that in five short weeks you have tons of money? Will they believe you?

Gary Paulsen has done it yet again. His die-hard fans will like the story, and reluctant readers will find it a quick and satisfying read. It's also a terrific read-aloud that will have them laughing and teach them a little about capitalism in the bargain.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Biz Person on January 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a businessperson I was so excited for this book which was supposed to be about how a kid builds a business. I thought it would be fun and explain some lessons along the way, that kids could take to heart. I intended to share it with my son and daughter who are about the same age as the protagonist.

And it was well written and engaging enough as stories go. And it was nice and short, so as not to scare kid readers.

But the story was a TERRIBLE example. The kid starts off working a few lawns and then hires an exmployee. Well enough. Then he bets his profits on penny stocks, buys a contract of a boxer, and gets into a fight with the local mafia. WHAT? The heroic climax is when his prizefighter bloodies the local hoods. The boy and the boy's parents show a disturbing disregard for the law and happiness about the violence. And oh by the way, it turns out his business was successful because he hires illegal immigrants who need an American front-man, even a 12-year old boy.

And then the happy ending is that he speculates AGAIN on penny stocks and turns $40 into $500K. What the kind of example is that??? THIS is how we get rich in America?

There is also a weird recurring gag where he drinks drugged tea with his hippie stockbroker - I am not making this up.

There was LITTLE TO ZERO redeeming value to this book. It does not inspire children to do the right thing.

Do not buy this book and keep your kids AWAY from it.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Foote on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed reading this book together with my 9 year old who is an advanced reader. I don't know if he really absorbed what was actually happening when the stock grew and eventually split, but he did understand the boy was making money in stocks and was exposed to new financial terms, which is a good start.

A short paragraph about the previous lawn mower in the neighborhood (evidently not a child) running off with the wife of one of his customers was unnecessary. I would have preferred this idea not be introduced and I read past it without drawing attention to it.

When it comes to money, emotions are always involved. The boy continually frets about telling his parents how much money he's earned because he worries his parents will feel bad and he will be bragging. His emotions also play a role in sacrificing summer vacation and fun when working to make a profit. There is a fair amount of humor through out the book and characters are added slowly making it easier for children to distinguish and remember who is who. My son was definitely looking forward to reading the next chapter each night.

Woven into the story are the concepts of shares of stock, a stockbroker, fees, commissions, partnerships, employees, competition, and more. When you are looking for something entertaining to begin teaching your child about finances, try this engaging book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Moore on February 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
We used this book in a 3rd grade book club. The kids loved the book. They found it easy to read and enjoyed the length of each chapter since each chapter was short, they met with success. The topic of stocks was above them and probably better suited for a 4th or 5th grader. But they did identify with making money since most had jobs around the house that they earned money for and they were doing an economy lesson in school at the time so some of the concepts really reinforced what they were doing in class.

The other nice thing about this book is that it is contemporary to their lives, many of the books we have read in book club are great works of litature but they were written a lot of years before their time. This was a book that talked about current tv shows and things have happened in recent times.
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