Paulsen, Gary. Lawn Boy
Booklist Reviews 2007 April #2
/*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. ((Reviewed April 15, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
When the twelve-year-old narrator's grandmother gives him a lawnmower, the youngster decides he might as well earn a few bucks. He meets Arnold, an investor with a cash-flow problem, who promises to buy stocks for him as payment for a freshly trimmed yard. With all the energy of a bull market, this brief farce has summer escapism written all over it. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Spring
When the twelve-year-old narrator's grandmother gives him a lawnmower, the youngster decides he might as well earn a few bucks. He meets Arnold, an investor with a cash-flow problem, who promises to buy stocks for him as payment for a freshly trimmed yard. With all the energy of a bull market, this brief farce has summer escapism written all over it. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #4
There are few twelve-year-old boys who get a lawnmower for their birthday, and probably fewer still who keep up with the stock market, but Paulsen presents just such a character, appealingly gift-wrapped in an original, humorous tale. When the narrator's ditzy grandmother gives him his grandfather's old riding mower for his twelfth birthday, the youngster feels a kinship with the machine and decides that, since he has little to do over the summer, he might as well earn a few bucks mowing lawns. Then he meets Arnold, an investor with a cash-flow problem, who promises to buy stocks for him as payment for a freshly trimmed yard. The business grows; Arnold advises the fledgling capitalist to outsource many of his services, all the while hedging against inflation with more and more investments. These then double, triple, and quadruple and expand to more bizarre ventures, including shares in a prizefighter, Joey Pow. With all the energy of a bull market and a farce that grows as steadily as crabgrass, this brief novel mows down weightier tomes on required reading lists and has summer escapism written all over it. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
PW Reviews 2007 June #2
At the start of this witty, quick-moving tale from the Newbery author, a 12-year-old receives an unexpected birthday present from his grandmother: his late grandfather's riding lawn mower. Since his family's lawn is postage-stamp size with grass that "never seemed to grow enough to need mowing," he's initially unsure what to do with the machine. But he soon realizes that he can earn money mowing neighbors' lawns—perhaps even enough to buy a new inner tube for his bike. As the young entrepreneur's lawn-mowing business booms, he sees green in more ways than one, making enough money to buy countless inner tubes and learning a lesson about capitalism and investing. His teacher, a colorful ex-hippie named Arnold, is a down-on-his-luck stockbroker who brokers a barter deal with the lad, offering to invest his earnings for him in exchange for grass-cutting services. Repeatedly remarking how "groovy" Lawn Boy's success is, Arnold instructs his young pal in the rules of the business road, humorously reflected in Paulsen's chapter titles (such as "Capital Growth Coupled with the Principles of Production Expansion" and "Conflict Resolution and Its Effects on Economic Policy"). Adding further wry dimension to the plot are a tough-talking thug who threatens to take over the kid's business, the prize fighter whom Arnold (through another investment) arranges for Lawn Boy to sponsor, and the boy's delightfully—and deceptively—dotty grandmother, who gets the novel's sage last line: "You know, dear, Grandpa always said, take care of your tools and they'll take care of you." Readers will find this madcap story a wise investment of their time. Ages 10-up. (June)[Page 61]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.