Title: Cracker's Mule
Author: Billy Moore
Publisher: Junebug Books
Concepts: producers, natural resources, auctions, markets, scarcity
Review: Eleven-year-old Billy desperately wanted to learn the art of buying and selling livestock from the traders he saw around him at the livestock auction. So he was mortified when he discovered that the mule he had recommended that his grandfather buy was blind. Billy, nick-named Cracker by the locals in the rural Alabama town where he was spending the summer, grew to love that mule as they settled into the work routines on his grandparents' farm. Although opportunities for fun and adventure came along in unpredictable ways, Billy also learned to start facing adulthood as he helped his grandparents cope financially with their rising medical costs in the face of declining revenues from crop sales.
Cleverly woven throughout this appealing story are some important economic lessons, including the workings of the market for livestock as well as the challenges of managing a farm when drought threatens both the crops and the animals. Cracker's Mule gets high marks all around for its substantive content, lively characters, interesting plot, and good old-fashioned fun.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children