by Gary Paulsen
After his grandmother gives him an old riding lawnmower for his summer birthday, this comedy’s 12-year-old narrator putt-putts into a series of increasingly complex and economically advantageous adventures. As each lawn job begets another, one client—persuasive day-trader Arnold Howell—barters market investing and dubious local business connections. Our naïve entrepreneur thus unwittingly acquires stock in an Internet start-up and a coffin company; a capable landscaping staff of 15 and the sponsorship of a hulking boxer named Joseph Powdermilk. There’s a semi-climactic scuffle with some bad guys bent on appropriating the lawn business, but Joey Pow easily dispatches them. If there’s tension here, it derives from the unremitting good news: While the reader may worry that Arnold’s a rip-off artist, Joey Pow will blow his fight, or (at the very least) the parents will go ballistic once clued in—all ends refreshingly well. The most complicated parts of this breezy affair are the chapter titles, which seem lifted from an officious, tenure-track academician’s economics text. Capital! (Fiction. 9-12)
New York Times Review
Lawn Boy is guided in all these endeavors by a local day trader named Arnold Howell, who takes it upon himself to initiate the boy into the mysteries and beauties of capitalism. (The chapter titles all sound like an economics textbook: “Capital Growth Coupled With the Principles of Production Expansion,” “Economic Expansion Combined With Portfolio Diversification,” and the like.) Arnold, who has a bowl-job haircut, wears ’70s clothing and says “groovy” a lot, is the sort of character who makes an adult reader worry he might be a child molester. But his agenda is apparently benign, and his gift for picking stocks is so good you wonder why he’s stuck in Eden Prairie, Minn., instead of on the floor at Bear Stearns. To diversify, he also gets Lawn Boy to invest in a kindly but possibly overconcussed prizefighter named Joseph Powdermilk Jr., a k a Joey Pow, who comes in handy when a bad guy called Rock tries to muscle in on the lawn business.
All this would be much harder to take were it not for the book’s appealing style of narration. Lawn Boy is quick to admit that he is a kid with an “average brain and average grades,” and he relates his successes with wonderment. Except perhaps for not being quite gross enough, Paulsen has mastered the very hard trick of sounding exactly like a 12-year-old without being either cute or condescending. Far from bragging about his newfound wealth, moreover, Lawn Boy is a little embarrassed by it, not wanting to show up his hard-working parents. (Mom teaches in an experimental school, and Dad is a not-very-successful inventor.)
Unusual for books of this sort, which combine enterprise with what is essentially a summer idyll in the way of, say, Robert McCloskey’s Homer Price stories or Beverly Cleary’s “Henry and the Paper Route,” Lawn Boy has no friends, no extra-business adventures and not a clue about what to do with his money. But unlike Arnold, he will probably wind up at a fund like Citadel or Cerberus and amass so much dough that he can endow an entire lawnmower museum.
Liar, Liar is one Gary Paulsen's most poplar book. The book is about a boy named Kevin, who claims to be the best liar. Later in the story, Kevin's lies end up getting him in trouble, and it teaches him about telling the truth.
Road Trip is another book by Gary Paulsen and it's about how a boy, named Ben, goes on a trip with his dad to save a dog. Along the way, Ben and his dad pick up some strangers who helped Ben along the ride. After the Road Trip Ben's dad has a suprise planned for Ben.
Lawn Boy Returns
Lawn Boy Returns is the sequel of Lawn Boy. The book is about the aftermath of the boy's actions. Lawn Boy's parents goes on a vacation for a week, and the boy has to stay with his grandmother. The boy and Arnold end up getting in trouble with some goons who want to steal the boy's money and will hurt anybody to do that.
Lawn Boy Returns
"LAWN BOY by Gary Paulsen | Kirkus Reviews." Kirkus Reviews. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
Lawn Boy. Digital image. Openlibrary.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
Mcgrath, Charles. "Children’s Books." The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Aug. 2007. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
Liar Liar. Digital image. Amazon.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.
Road Trip. Digital image. Media.npr.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.
Lawn Boy Returns. Digital image. D.gr-assets.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.