Title: Dodger for Sale
Author: Jordan Sonnenblick
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Concepts: property rights, development, environmental activism, markets
Review: Fifth grader Willie Ryan faced a new dilemma. His father, a self-help book guru, asked everyone in the family to follow the advice of one of his books as a kind of living experiment, and he would write a new book documenting the results. Willie had to undertake some sort of quest and be a hero. Little did Willie realize that the opportunity to take on a new cause would present itself right around the corner. Someone had placed the empty lot by the school -- the only forest in town and home of the magical Field of Dreams -- on the market.
That "For Sale" sign could only mean one thing: some developer would bulldoze all the trees for an unnecessary housing project, and all who loved the woods, including the leprechauns and Willie's friend Dodger the imaginary chimpanzee, would lose a peaceful sanctuary. Willie and his allies had their work cut out for them, which included discovering the identities of the buyer and seller, as well as lobbying a mayor who turned out to prefer greasing the wheels over saving the environment.
This entertaining novel for young readers, the third in a series about Willie and Dodger, provides an interesting blend of fantasy, adventure, and humor. Driving the plot are some important themes in economics, including the role of buyers and sellers in the real estate market as well as the importance of environmental conservation. Heavy topics perhaps, but easy to digest with the assistance of an oversized blue chimpanzee gliding on a snowboard to that magical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children