Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

Lawn Boy / by Gary Paulsen

Title: Lawn Boy
Author: Gary Paulsen
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
ISBN: 978-0-385-74686-1
Year: 2007

Economic concepts: child schooling and work, entrepreneurs, goods/services, investment, markets, money/banking, profits


Lawn Boy is a chapter book told in the first-person point of view of an unnamed narrator. For his twelfth birthday, “Lawn Boy” gets an old riding mower from his grandmother. While he is tinkering around trying to figure out how to use the machine, a neighbor sees him and hires him on the spot to mow his lawn. Before he knows it, Lawn Boy has more lawns to mow than he has time in a day. Then he meets Arnold, another neighbor who also happens to be a stockbroker. Arnold helps Lawn Boy out by finding employees for him and also investing his money in the stock market. Before Lawn Boy knows it, he has earned thousands of dollars and is now the sole sponsor of a heavyweight prizefighter, Joey Pow!

Each chapter of the book begins with economic terminology, with those concepts then explored through the happenings of the chapter. For instance, in the chapter titled “The Law of Increasing Product Demand Versus Flat Production Capacity,” Lawn Boy gets more and more requests for his lawn mowing services but he also realizes that he does not have enough time to mow more than three or four large lawns a day.

Lawn Boy is a story full of business and economic concepts, told in such a hilarious way that most young readers will be unaware they are learning at the same time they are laughing out loud.

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Children and Economics

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