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Summary: Summer's here and Tyler and Giselle are ready to relax. No need to think about homework. Or is there? Kids can go on vacation, but businesses can't, and sales are down of Tyler's Solve-a-Matic homework machine. Thanks to his invention, Tyler is finally realizing his dream of sailing around the world. Giselle doesn't want him to cut it short, so she returns to Nessibus to help Tyler's business. Can she turn Tyler's sales around? Is she going to have to give up her dream of being a filmmaker to do it? This is the second title in this searis about business, entrepreneurship, and living your dreams.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 11 and up
Young Reader Reaction: This novel was very interesting and educational. There were many high points, including the adventure and the parts of running a business. It didn't seem very realistic and many of the characters were animals. All in all it was a great read. This is a nice general interest story. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read.
Adult Reader Reaction: With Tyler and his Solve-a-Matic Machine, the reader was immersed in the story right away. This story seemed to take longer to grab me. There is plenty of action. Tyler remains part of the story but is secondary to the plot, which is nice to see. The author also did a nice job introducing business concepts and showing kids the dynamics of running a business. Her clever use of characters (Rumor is a skunk, for instance) adds to the fun.
Pros: Even kids who aren't into math will enjoy this story that blends a good story with details about running a business.
Cons: Given the number of characters, it would be helpful to have more illustrations and/or "playing card" biographies in the front, or as characters are introduced. Although clever, the number of species associated with characters is pushing the story to become farcical.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow or buy. This one could go either way. This is a fast-paced story that everyone can enjoy. For kids interested in business, this is an excellent book. The story offers them ways to contrast and compare their ideas with the sequence of events in this book. It also gives them solid material for planning or developing their business strategies.
Educational Themes: The story lends itself to lots of exploring: the dynamics of starting and maintaining a business, math, personal responsibility and choices, and friendship. I would love to see a glossary or series of book club-type questions to engage kids in thinking about entrepreneurial concepts.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 6.0
Literary Categories: Fiction - business, middle grade series