Tim's birthday is just a week away, and more than anything he wants a skateboard. But money is tight, and Tim knows his family cannot afford to buy him a board.
As Tim ponders how he might earn money for a skateboard, he hears The Can Man down the street collecting empty soft drink cans. The clang of the cans in the homeless man's cart gives Tim an idea. He will collect cans too, and cash them in for the redemption money. By the end of the week, Tim has almost reached his goaluntil a couple of chance encounters with The Can Man change everything.
Told with honesty and respect, this timely story shines a perceptive light on current social concerns. Readers will be encouraged to think beyond themselves and celebrate the simple acts of kindness and sharing that make a difference in people's lives.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you were a young person who was working hard to save up money to buy a desired recreational item but then found out that someone else needed the money even more than you did, what would you do? Tim's birthday is just a week away, and he wants a brand new skateboard like his friend Mike's more than anything else, but Tim's father says that money is tight and the family can't afford toys or sports. Then Tim watches a homeless man going through trash barrels to find cans that he can take to the recycling center for cash. Everyone calls him The Can Man, and he gives Tim an idea. If The Can Man can collect cans to get money, so could Tim, and by going The Can Man's route backwards, he manages to collect seven bags full. However, Tim learns from his parents that The Can Man is actually Mr. Peters who used to live in the same apartment building that Tim's family does but lost his job and has been down on his luck for some time. When Tim runs across Mr. Peters one cold, drizzly day, he sees that the homeless man, who has been collecting so that he can get a new coat to replace his old flappy one before the snow comes, doesn't have many cans in his cart. Yet Mr. Peters offers to help Tim take his own cans down to the recycling center by putting them in his cart. It takes a long time for Tim and Mike to push all the cans into the machine. By the time they are done, The Can Man is leaving and it is beginning to snow outside. What will Tim do? Will he keep the money for himself to buy the new skateboard? All of us who are parents want our children to grow up being thoughtful, kind, and generous toward others, especially those who are in need. Of course, the best way to accomplish this goal is for them to see these traits exhibited in our own lives. But these characteristics can be additionally impressed upon their minds by being illustrated through memorable stories. At the risk of sounding repetitive, The Can Man is a really, really, really neat book! It is always a joy to read, even in fiction, about young people who make the conscious choice to help others even when the temptation is great to be selfish. Author Laura E. Williams was inspired to write the book as a result of a man she often saw collecting cans in a shopping cart. It will, in turn, inspire readers to think beyond themselves and consider the needs of others.