Lawn Boy

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Overview

One day I was 12 years old and broke. Then Grandma gave me Grandpa's old riding lawnmower. I set out to mow some lawns. More people wanted me to mow their lawns. And more and more. . . . One client was Arnold the stockbroker, who offered to teach me about "the beauty of capitalism. Supply and Demand. Diversify labor. Distribute the wealth." "Wealth?" I said. "It's groovy, man," said Arnold.

If I'd known what was coming, I might have climbed on my mower and putted all the way ...

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Overview

One day I was 12 years old and broke. Then Grandma gave me Grandpa's old riding lawnmower. I set out to mow some lawns. More people wanted me to mow their lawns. And more and more. . . . One client was Arnold the stockbroker, who offered to teach me about "the beauty of capitalism. Supply and Demand. Diversify labor. Distribute the wealth." "Wealth?" I said. "It's groovy, man," said Arnold.

If I'd known what was coming, I might have climbed on my mower and putted all the way home to hide in my room. But the lawn business grew and grew. So did my profits, which Arnold invested in many things. And one of them was Joey Pow the prizefighter. That's when my 12th summer got really interesting.

From the Hardcover edition.

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  • Gary Paulsen's Lawn Boy
    Gary Paulsen's Lawn Boy  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
Summer vacation was never as productive as the summer he turned twelve. That summer, he (who is never mentioned by name) receives his grandfather's old riding lawn mower for his birthday, yet does not have a lawn much larger than a postage stamp. When the neighbors noticed and started asking for their lawns to be mowed, the trouble began. We should all have this kind of trouble! One lawn led to another, leads to another , and soon he find himself with a small business, complete with employees and more money than his parents. Our ‘hero' learns through another neighbor about investing, capitalism, and offering employee benefits—all at the tender age of 12. While this is an easily read book, the story is a bit overwhelming at times. Paulsen creates realistic characters, yet presents them with far-fetched, if not illegal opportunities. The inclusion of owning a prize fighter really places this out of most reader's league, yet makes for an interesting book discussion for pre-adolescents or even potential business students.
VOYA
Tucked deep within a lesson in economics is an actual young adult story, or so Paulsen would have readers believe in this story of a young boy who receives a riding lawn mower from his grandmother for his twelfth birthday. Before long, the nameless narrator is befriended by a neighborly stocks expert, who invests his money in coffins. From there, it is all good as the narrator's money doubles, triples, quadruples to the point where he owns his own fighter, named Joey Pow. There is not very much to the story beyond that. As the money accumulates, so do the problems, such as dealing with an extortionist named Rock, but at under one hundred pages, this book is a trifling at best. It would have been more interesting and realistic to read about a kid struggling to keep his lawn business afloat all summer, with hilarious results, but that is not the story Paulsen is telling. Nor does he make much effort to go anywhere most readers are anxious to follow. A typical chapter heading is "Economic Expansion Combined with Portfolio Diversification." A fun mental image is to picture this book as a how-to bible in the hands of some diehard young entrepreneur, but in reality the only ones who are going to be eager for the book are economics teachers salivating over the chance to meet their students halfway. Reviewer: Matthew Weaver
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7
Learning the workings of the free-market economy has never been more fun than in this tall tale of entrepreneurship set in Eden Prairie, MN. When the narrator's grandmother gives him an old rider mower for his 12th birthday, his life changes; he senses "some kind of force behind it." Almost as soon as he figures out how to run it, the boy is in business-by the second day he has eight jobs. When he mows the lawn of Arnold Howell, an aging hippie e-trader, the cash-poor man offers a stock-market account in lieu of payment. Arnold not only invests the money; he also offers business advice. Soon lawn boy has a partner, 15 employees, a lot of money invested in the market, and a prizefighter. Chapter headings suggest business principles behind what is happening. Throughout the tale, the narrator is innocent of his success as he rises early each morning to begin each job, eats lunch on the mower, and longs for a less-hectic summer vacation. This rags-to-riches success story has colorful characters, a villain, and enough tongue-in-cheek humor to make it an enjoyable selection for the whole family.
—Kathryn KosiorekCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
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 naive 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)
From the Publisher
Starred review, Booklist, April 15, 2007:
"[A] short and hilarious tale . . . When it comes to telling funny stories about boys, no one surpasses Paulsen, and here he is in top form."

“Paulsen has mastered the very hard trick of sounding exactly like a twelveyear- old without being either cute or condescending.”
—The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385909235
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/12/2007
  • Edition description: Library Edition
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Three-time Newbery-winning author Gary Paulsen, hailed as "one of the best-loved writers alive" by the New York Times, divides his time between his ranch in New Mexico, a sailboat on the Pacific Ocean, and his dog-kennel in Alaska. He's written over 200 books for young people, stories that have been embraced by readers of all ages.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 163 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(90)

4 Star

(30)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 165 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 3, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    LAWN BOY provides some quick entertainment. It's a very manageable read at less than 90 pages. Readers are treated to quite a few laughs and a little business education. <BR/><BR/>The main character is a 12-year-old boy. His grandmother gives him a riding lawn mower for his birthday. She says it was his late grandfather's mower. Miracle of all miracles, the thing actually works, and he sets about mowing their pitiful excuse for a yard. <BR/><BR/>When he finishes the yard, a neighbor wonders if he can get his own lawn mowed. Soon he's mowing for the whole neighborhood. In a few short days, he has over three hundred dollars stuffed in his pockets. <BR/><BR/>Arnold, a stay-at-home stockbroker, would like his lawn mowed; but he admits to being short on cash. He offers a deal - mow his lawn and he'll invest the cost of the mowing in the stock market and hopefully increase the investment. Boy, does he! <BR/><BR/>Before he knows it, he has a growing business and more money than he can even imagine. He has a stock portfolio that would be the envy of any businessperson. And just think, his only dream at the start of the summer was to have enough to afford a new inner tube for his bike tire. <BR/><BR/>The problem now is how do you break it to your parents that in five short weeks you have tons of money? Will they believe you? <BR/><BR/>Gary Paulsen has done it yet again. His die-hard fans will like the story, and reluctant readers will find it a quick and satisfying read. It's also a terrific read-aloud that will have them laughing and teach them a little about capitalism in the bargain.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Scrubseason

    I absolutely hated this book! The chapter names were so advanced and perplexing and then the actual text was BORING! I read it in an hour, deciding to suffer through it all at once so I could spare myself the rest of the summer! The book didn't even include Lawn boy's first name, or last name. Since it was a summer read book, it was required, but still most people decided to blow it off after reading the first chapter. Plus whenever we refered to the main character in our essays, we had to write lawn boy or the protagonist. Our teachers didn't like that. I apologize to the author and readers who enjoyed this book. This is my opinion and I respect the book fully.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2009

    The best book ever!

    The book, Lawn Boy, by Gary Paulsen begins when a boy gets a lawn mower for his 12th birthday. One lawn leads to another and before he knew it he had his own lawn business. He teams up with others to expand his business. He even enlists a stock broker named Arnold who helps him find new riches other than mowing lawns. Before he knows it he is sponsoring a prize fighter who will bring more riches to the boy and his family. This boy really knows how to turn piles of grass into a mound of cash. He learns the real value of his grandfathers words: "take care of your tools and they will take care of you".
    A great book with great lessons. I recommend this book to any kid who has ever dreamed of starting their own business.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2009

    BN Lawn Boy (Paperback) & ITunes Lawn Boy Audiobook-MP3 by Gary Paulsen

    Economics is theme topic for this book. Excellent idea to promote savings & investments w/children. Outstanding money-management story for children and adults.

    On recent road trip, used both BN Lawn Boy (Paperback) w/Lawn Boy I-Tunes Audiobook-MP3 for 7th grade female student passenger.

    Although initially resistant priding herself on ability to read alone, she became quickly absorbed with audio/visual following along w/BN (Paperback) while listening to Audiobook on IPod w/car stereo speakers. As driver, I was able to listen to Audiobook while driving.

    A tribute to Lawn Boy was capturing our interest w/characters and story. Although we didn't finish the book together on trip, 7th grade student stuffed the paperback in her new Hollister tote bag and finished reading the book alone at grandma's house. I finished listening to the Audiobook on IPod.

    Recommendations: BN Lawn Boy (Paperback) & Lawn Boy Audiobook-MP3

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2009

    Great Fast Read

    Fast-paced, easy read, full of voice with great characterization. This would be a neat book to read with a class when teaching about economics or just for fun - maybe on those last few days of school before summer break.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    The best book i ever read

    The best book i have ever read is because of winn-dixie

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2009

    Good book for young readers.

    This is a good book for young readers.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    Interesting Read

    One day a twelve year old boy gets a lawn mower from his grandmother for his birthday. It belonged to his grandfather who said ¿take care of your tools and they will take care of you.¿ Little did he know what that would entail. He begins mowing lawns within his neighborhood and then before he realizes it, his business has expanded. He meets Arnold, a stockbroker, who then becomes not only his business investor, but a friend as well. In the end, not only does he sponsor a prize-fighter, have a stockbroker, employed several people in his ever expanding business, have close to five-hundred thousand dollars, and the summer isn¿t over! Gary Paulsen¿s story has many entrepreneurship lessons to be learned in this suspenseful and entertaining book. I highly recommend this for kids ages 9-13.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2008

    A good book

    A summer job is something that is getting you 50 dollars or less but not for this kid. Gary Paulsen¿s heartwarming and hilarious new book Lawn Boy is about a determined, hard working kid who lives in a poor family without much money. When he gets his grandfather¿s old lawn mower on his 12th birthday, he starts a summer job to make some money. Suddenly he is getting much more money than he thought would, and starts a business with a neighbor. When people resort to violence to stop the business it looks like it is the last of it, or is it¿ This book is a great for realistic fiction book lovers people that like funny books, and fans of Gray Paulsen¿s books. This book is definitely another well-written book from the award-winning author Gary Paulsen.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    a great book for 12 year old lawn mowers

    The Lawn Boy is a great book about how a 12 year old boy, who mows a few lawns for the summer, and turns into a multi-millionaire. With the help of a stockbroker named Arnold, the Lawn Boy builds a huge lawn mowing business. He gets workers and even sponsors a pro boxer. I would recommend this 188 page book for students from ages of 9 to 14. I give this hilarious book, two thumbs up. So if you¿re between the ages of 9 and 14, or even a little older or younger, you should get this book By jacob

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    A reviewer

    LAWN BOY provides some quick entertainment. It¿s a very manageable read at less than 90 pages. Readers are treated to quite a few laughs and a little business education. The main character is a 12-year-old boy. His grandmother gives him a riding lawn mower for his birthday. She says it was his late grandfather¿s mower. Miracle of all miracles, the thing actually works, and he sets about mowing their pitiful excuse for a yard. When he finishes the yard, a neighbor wonders if he can get his own lawn mowed. Soon he¿s mowing for the whole neighborhood. In a few short days, he has over three hundred dollars stuffed in his pockets. Arnold, a stay-at-home stockbroker, would like his lawn mowed but he admits to being short on cash. He offers a deal - mow his lawn and he'll invest the cost of the mowing in the stock market and hopefully increase the investment. Boy, does he! Before he knows it, he has a growing business and more money than he can even imagine. He has a stock portfolio that would be the envy of any businessperson. And just think, his only dream at the start of the summer was to have enough to afford a new inner tube for his bike tire. The problem now is how do you break it to your parents that in five short weeks you have tons of money? Will they believe you? Gary Paulsen has done it yet again. His die-hard fans will like the story, and reluctant readers will find it a quick and satisfying read. It's also a terrific read-aloud that will have them laughing and teach them a little about capitalism in the bargain. **Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka 'Readingjunky'

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Excellent book

    I overall thought that this was a great book! I read this book for school this year, and it reads well. It is easy to do book reports on, and the plot is simple, but the main character has some unexpected twists as he tries to earn money. One this I noticed was that the characters did not have very much depth. The only character that I could imagine meeting was Joseph Powdermilk. Even the main character did not show much emotion. Also, the climax of the story (the internal/external change) was not clear. I think that the author could have expanded more on the connection between the boy and the lawnmower. I think a good thing while reading this book is to have a dictionary or something next to you because some paragraphs can get a little... confusing. WARNING: very short book. Do not buy if a) you are a fast reader, b) you enjoy complex, long books, c) if you like to be able to connect with these characters, or d) all of the above. If you have checked off any of these, do not buy this book, as you will be dissapointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Great but shprt

    This was a very good book. It is great for introducing econimics to teens. Hoowever i felt it was too short for five dollars. If lawn boy 2 was included, then maybe it would be worth it. Despite this, it was a great book. Maybe it was just that i read it too fast-in a half hour or so!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Amazing

    It can be a bit confusing if you dont understand stock and gross income (that is me!) But that adds to the plot because lawn boy is 12 and has no clue about these things either!!!!! other then that......AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Short, quick and funny, my boy loved it!

    Paulsen's books are great! My sons are dyslexic, these books have been such motivation encouragement my youngest has gone from the lower 5% to the upper 97% in reading in just 1 semester, Thanks Gary!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    How is this book?

    Frenchwoman on Frozen result 1

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    The lawnboy

    It is a good book to read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2014

    The worst book ever

    Terrible

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Would rather die than read this

    Worst book in the world yeah he gets rich but for no reason

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    Eh

    This book wasn't that good. It is not good for grades 2 and below because they would not understand the stocks and market stuff. It is too short.

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