The Confession$ and $ecret$ of Howard J. Fingerhut

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Introducing himself to readers as the author of the book they are holding, fast-talking narrator Howie describes it as a how-to book with "a diary in the middle," and announces that it "will probably change your life." Hershenhorn's (There Goes Lowell's Party) chronicle of the boy's month-by-month account of the business he launches to try to win a school contest includes some diverting twists and comical dialogue. At the start of the school year, Howie feels confident that his lawn-care business, "A Boy for All Seasons," will land him first prize in the H. Marion Muckley Junior Businessperson of the Year Contest, named for the late founder of Muckley Milkshakes and inventor of the "steel-blade milkshake pulsator." The budding entrepreneur's classmates intermittently compete with a vengeance and lend a helping hand (humorously, often out of self-interest). Although they come across as a somewhat stock crew (the class know-it-all, wise guy, genius, etc.), Howie's cock-eyed view will keep readers' interest. One blow-by-blow "On the Scene with Howard J. Fingerhut," for instance, which charts Howie's failed attempt to clean up the Busghetti's lawn, may well have the audience in stitches. They'll undoubtedly deem his $illy mi$adventure$ amu$ing. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Howard J. Fingerhut, a young boy in the fourth grade class at the Four Corners School in Mt. Olive, Missouri has written this how-to book. Howie created this book based on a yearlong business contest that is turned into a class project in which each student participated. Howie named his business "A Boy For All Seasons," which is a lawn care, snow removal, and leaf raking service. His goal was to make enough money to win the contest and have his how-to book published. Throughout the book, Howie demonstrates the importance of never giving up even if an employee leaves your business and starts up his own similar business. He shares both of his positive and negative experiences with the reader and gives suggestions on ways to improve. At the end of the book an important lesson is learned by all of the participants in the class contest. This is a one of a kind how-to book that provides readers with some business lessons, while also including humor, heart, and a never-ending spirit. 2002, Holiday House,
— Christy Oestreich
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Howard J. Fingerhut is an intelligent, athletic, and incredibly confident fourth grader, so when he learns that his class is participating in a contest, he is certain that he will win. The challenge is to start a profitable business with a $50 investment supplied by the town's milkshake maven. Howie evaluates his skills and the needs of his community, and he chooses to open "A Boy for All Seasons," a basic raking, shoveling, and mowing enterprise. He is so sure of his impending success that he also decides to write a self-help book for other young entrepreneurs, with one chapter for each month of the school year until his inevitable victory in June. That is the rationale for the structure of this novel. The majority of children in the target audience will not have read or had any experience with a self-help book, so much of the humor will be lost on them. The author forces the structure to such a point that there are spots for photos that Howie claims he "will have his publisher include," leaving readers with over 15 virtually blank pages to ponder. The characters are not strong enough to overcome the underlying format flaws. Titles by Andrew Clements provide readers with a more satisfying mixture of reality and humor.-Laura Reed, Pickering Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Many entrepreneurs write about their successes, but Howie Fingerhut tells it all in his how-to book for success. Written with a sense of humor and a positive attitude, Howie's journal chronicles the year of the H. Marion Muckley Junior Businessperson of the Year contest. Promised a trophy and a year's worth of frozen desserts, Howie and his classmates each develop their own business in the attempt to outwit one another and win the prize. Howie plans to rake, shovel, and plant his way to riches as "A Boy for All Seasons," while his classmates start equally challenging businesses such as tutor, Web designer, and bill collector. Unfortunately, Howie is bogged down with city ordinances outlawing pumpkin-colored garbage bags; blizzard-like snowstorms requiring hours of shoveling; and dead-beat customers who refuse to pay for his services. Even with his balance sheet in the red, though, Howie manages to keep smiling and writing through it all. Fortunately, he also has the foresight to provide suggestions to his future editor as to the illustrations and photographs that should appear in his manuscript, going so far as to leave space for them. Reading this might not "change your life," as Howie suggests, but no one will be able to resist its spirit. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823416424
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.74 (d)

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