This was another title that came from my Twitter community. I nabbed this book off the shelf as soon as I saw it in the local book store. I was quite excited to read it!
What It Is About: Benjamin isn't having an easy time of it. His father has died. His mother is working a part-time waitress job and going to school so she can get a "real" full-time job. They are down on their luck and about to be evicted from their apartment. Benjamin loves to enter contests and sweepstakes in order to win the grand prizes and the cash that goes along with it. His main sweepstakes is for a toilet paper contest in which he must come up with a winning slogan. During this time, his grandfather shows up on their doorstep and they soon realize he is dealing with memory issues. Ben and his buddy navigate school, friends, and staying loyal to each other. His mother's and his future depend on whether he can come up with the extra money in order to insure they won't be evicted.
What I Thought Of It: This was an excellent middle-grade novel and I'm so glad I was able to spend time with this story. Ben was an awesome character to read about and I was rooting for him the whole time. It was fun to read about his adventures with the contests, the sweepstakes, and being so incredibly loyal to his mother and their situation. The novel had humor, serious issues, friendships, and a whole lot of love between a mother and her son. I also enjoyed the story of the grandfather and his issues with his memory. It was handled with sensitivity and care. This story really had it all and will be a must share with my young readers.
Who Should Read It: In my opinion this would make for a perfect read aloud in grades three through six. As I mentioned above, it has it all and would be an interesting story for children to listen to. If a student read it on their own, they would have to be a strong reader in fourth grade or a fifth/sixth grade reader. At this point, I'm thinking of picking this novel for my "Breakfast with Books" book club and/or a read aloud with my fourth graders. Happy Reading...
Rating: 4 STARS out of 5 Stars