Children's Books

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JANUARY 3, 2007
Owen Foote, Money Man by Stephanie Greene
Owen desperately needs money in order to purchase some life essentials from the “Junk You Never Knew About” catalogue such as plastic vomit and dog poop. Getting money is the problem. His toilet demonstration business proves to be fruitless almost immediately and the attempt to make a best-selling fishing video becomes hazardous as Owen hooks his own ear with the hook. Allowance is out of the question since his parents have this cockeyed idea that not only should he should earn it, but he should probably be expected to do chores simply because he was part of the family! He informs his father that he will rake leaves at a rate of a penny a leaf. “Twenty dollars for one pile of leaves?” said Mr. Foote. “Is that a bargain?” “It’s a big pile,” said Owen. “I know it is, Owen. I raked it,” said his dad. Then Mr. White, Owen’s neighbor, asks for some advise on building a pond as a surprise for his wife. Owen has quite a bit of knowledge on the subject and heads out with his book about ponds to help Mr. White. If there’s one thing about Owen, he knows a lot of stuff. They work together to successfully complete the pond project and Owen, to his surprise, is paid $20. This book is extremely well-written. Its’ fast-paced, realistic style will be a hit with young readers and the dialogue is something one would imagine occurring in their own home. There are lessons to be learned but it is not didactic. In fact, although there is some change in Owen’s behavior by the end of the story, there is still room for improvement. For example, when he finally agrees to clean his room in exchange for his allowance, he ties up his “treasures” from the floor in his sweatshirt and stuffs it all in a drawer. There are three other “Owen” titles in our collection just in case you enjoy this one. Good for grades 2-4.

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