Lawn Boy
By Gary Paulsen
Wendy Lamb Books
ISBN 9780385746861
Grades 4-7
In Stores


My first real summer job was working at a fudge shop in Northern Michigan. I scooped some ice cream, rolled some waffle cones, earned minimum wage and was thrilled. The unnamed narrator in “Lawn Boy” happens upon a similarly ordinary summer gig: mowing lawns. The whirlwind of events that follow in Gary Paulsen’s latest probably make Lawn Boy wish he could be carefree and elbow deep in some butter pecan.

The story begins as our hero inherits a riding lawn mower from his grandmother – pretty unassuming stuff, right? A neighbor inquires about the cost of getting his lawn cut, and that is how it all begins. There is a lot of business to be had. Before he knows it, lawn boy is hiring employees and investing his money with the help of a neighbor/hippy/stockbroker named Arnold. Soon thereafter Prizefighter Joey Pow enters the mix, and things really start to get interesting. Mo’ money, mo’ problems. When the dust settles, Lawn Boy realizes that his summer job was a valuable experience in more ways than one.

This title wears the “fast, entertaining read” badge proudly. Paulsen keeps the action moving while introducing youngsters to some basic financial principles. Where I’m from (London, circa 1910), this is also called the “spoonful of sugar technique”. A quality fiction selection. Readers should enjoy this almost as much as a double waffle cone.

Also Reviewed By: Kids Lit.

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