Howie Bowles and Uncle Sam

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Overview

Is Howie in trouble with the IRS?

On the same day that Howie Bowles finds out that he was born on Friday the thirteenth, his teacher tells him that he should pay more attention to numbers. Then he gets a phone call from the Internal Revenue Service, telling him he made a mistake filling out a form and owes Uncle Sam $112.15. He doesn't know who this guy Sam is, or what form it is he made a mistake on, but the IRS says that "failure to pay could result in penalty and ...

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Overview

Is Howie in trouble with the IRS?

On the same day that Howie Bowles finds out that he was born on Friday the thirteenth, his teacher tells him that he should pay more attention to numbers. Then he gets a phone call from the Internal Revenue Service, telling him he made a mistake filling out a form and owes Uncle Sam $112.15. He doesn't know who this guy Sam is, or what form it is he made a mistake on, but the IRS says that "failure to pay could result in penalty and imprisonment!" Howie only has $15.17. How can he ever raise $96.98 in one week? He's resigned to his fate of going to prison until his mom finds out what's troubling him, and together they discover that there is another Howie Bowles! In short chapters with snappy dialogue, Kate Banks continues the adventures of Howie Bowles, a likable, worried little boy.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Suspend disbelief for a mere 85 pages of comfortably sized print, and tag along with Howie (of Howie Bowles, Secret Agent fame) for a rollicking ride on the roller-coaster of third grade life. What chance do you have if you know you were born on an unlucky day, if the world seems to go out of its way to serve up dollops of misfortune just for you, and (worst of all) the IRS is dunning you for unpaid taxes? Howie's valiant attempts to get the best of fate will have young readers in stitches. A brisk pace and swift repartee mark the dialogue, and the third grade point of view is achieved with splendid effect. 2000, Frances Foster Books, $15.00. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 2-3-Howie Bowles is convinced that he will be plagued with bad luck throughout his life because he was born on Friday the 13th. His school and home life confirm this: he has difficulty with math, and his younger siblings, particularly his infant sister, seem to receive more parental attention than he does. The coup de gr ce comes in the form of a delinquent tax notice the third grader receives from the IRS. Howie is in debt to the tune of $112 to an uncle named Sam whom he doesn't know, and is warned of imprisonment if he doesn't pay. As the due date approaches, he makes his farewells at home and at school. At the last minute, though, his mother finds the letter and straightens out the problem, and Howie realizes that he's pretty lucky after all to have parents who care about him. Howie's character, which is fraught with insecurities, and the humor are well developed. Readers may not necessarily buy into some of Howie's friends' favorite leisure activities (marble games, the art of spitballs, and the classroom game of "Post Office"), but this easy chapter book should appeal to younger readers.-Sharon McNeil, Los Angeles County Office of Education Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Banks's erstwhile hero Howie returns, and this time he's in hot water with Uncle Sam and the IRS. It's a case of mistaken identity plus a dose of math-phobia, compounded by a pessimistic outlook, that adds up to a rib-tickling tale. The dispiriting revelation that he was born on Friday the Thirteenth leads Howie to conclude that, being predestined for a lifetime of bad luck, any attempt to overcome his math difficulties would be a fruitless endeavor. In this lugubrious state of mind, Howie receives a letter from the IRS declaring he made a calculation error and owes Uncle Sam over 100 dollars. The fine print threatening "penalty and imprisonment" looms large, so Howie frantically concocts various schemes to come up with the money. Intertwined with the main plot are amusing scenes from Howie's home and school life; in the midst of his IRS-induced frenzy, Howie must cope with his new baby sister, plummeting math grades, and a whole host of situations that are sure to resonate with fellow school-age readers. Millman's humorous, full-page, black-and-white drawings are liberally interspersed throughout. Brief chapters populated with likable characters make this an engaging follow-up to Howie Bowles, Secret Agent (1999). There are plenty of math jokes, both subtle and unrepentantly corny, included in the text and illustrations to keep readers laughing while they learn, along with Howie, the monumental importance of minding your numbers. (Fiction. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374351168
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/21/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.35 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Banks and Isaac Millman are the author and illustrator of Howie Bowles, Secret Agent, of which Booklist said: "Grade-schoolers will want to read more about Howie Bowles." Kate Banks lives on the French Riviera. Isaac Millman lives in New York City.

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