Payback on Poplar Lane
Payback on Poplar Lane

Series: Poplar Kids Vol. 1   

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Annotation: A friendly neighborhood business competition between sixth-graders Rachel Chambers, so quiet she is practically invisible, and Peter S. Gronkowski, future mogul, turns into a ruthless rivalry.
Catalog Number: #160188
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 315 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-425-29090-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-425-29090-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017033434
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Twelve-year-old Peter Gronkowski knows he's Poplar Lane's resident business professional: founder, CEO, CFO, and COO of Peter Presents, Inc. To increase his impact, he hires his first unpaid intern, neighbor and classmate Rachel Chambers, a quiet girl who dreams of being a writer. When Peter's constant demands and claims to Rachel's creativity drive her to break away and start a competing business, war is declared. As the stakes escalate, both middle-schoolers resort to tactics that prove disastrous and eventually force them to examine their own conduct and motives. Set in a microcosm where everything is Poplar this and Poplar that, each kid plays an important role trepreneur, blogger, comic magician for hire, artist elding humorous situations, relationships, and outcomes. Peppered with exclusive business tips and Rachel's work in progress (Cyrano's Revenge), this series debut provides plenty of laugh-out-loud bits, told in alternating chapters by the competitors. Eventually, Peter and Rachel learn that there are different interpretations of success, that business and friendship require work, and that saying you're sorry isn't unprofessional.
Horn Book
Unscrupulous Peter and self-effacing Rachel are next-door neighbors but not friends. When Rachel becomes the unpaid intern of Peter's neighborhood business empire, she swiftly comes to resent being exploited. Rachel launches a competing business venture, but guilt and ethical dilemmas plague both entrepreneurs until they reach a rapprochement one wishes real-life adults would emulate. Unexpected heart prevails in this entrepreneurship story; business tips are included.
School Library Journal
Gr 46 Peter and Rachel live in the same cul-de-sac on Poplar Lane with lots of other young folks. Peter is an aspiring entrepreneur at age 11 who starts a new business almost every week. He's interested in business both as a profession and to help his family; his father recently lost his job. Rachel is quiet and an aspiring writer. She's working on a book called Cyrano's Revenge based on Cyrano de Bergerac, with whom she shares many attributes; Rachel's best friend Clover often speaks for her and gets the credit for Rachel's funny quips, earning Rachel the unenviable nickname "Puppet." When Peter hires Rachel as his (unpaid) intern in his newest business venture, Rachel proves to be a creative and resourceful entrepreneur. Peter doesn't appreciate her, however, so Rachel quits. When the two start competing businesses, Rachel's success gets under Peter's skin and soon both take drastic measures to stay on top. Mincks depicts the cul-de-sac's children and their antics in comedic tones. Readers will sympathize with Rachel but will come to understand Peter. The book is an easy read with short chapters alternating points of view. Peter's sections are interspersed with business tips and basic economic terms are introduced naturally in the text. The two main characters are white, though the cover illustration implies that some of the secondary characters are non-white. A sequel is planned. VERDICT An entertaining read perfect for reluctant readers or for fans of Gary Paulsen's Lawn Boy . Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, MA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (1/1/18)
Horn Book (4/1/19)
School Library Journal (1/1/18)
Word Count: 48,528
Reading Level: 3.8
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.8 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 195835 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:2.5 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q75791
Lexile: 460L

"This is the funniest book I've read in years."
--Chris Grabenstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mr. Lemoncello series

Ways to Run (Ruin) a Successful Business:
1. Hire your neighbor as an (unpaid) intern.
2. Make them do all the work.
3. Take all the credit.
4. Bask in the glow of your achievements.
5. Completely underestimate your neighbor.
6. Do not expect payback.

ABC's Shark Tank meets The Terrible Two when a pair of sixth grade entrepreneurs compete to become top mogul on their block. Payback on Poplar Lane is a pitch-perfect comedy, destined to become a middle-grade classic.

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