________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 7 . . . . November 21, 2008

cover Winner! (HIP Jr.).

Paul Kropp.
Toronto, ON: High Interest Publishing, 2008.
67 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-1-897039-31-1.

Subject Headings:
Lottery winners-Juvenile fiction.
Mothers and sons-Juvenile fiction.
Truthfulness and falsehood-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Libby McKeever.

***½ /4

cover Winner. Teacher's Guide.

Lori Jamison.
Toronto, ON: High Interest Publishing, 2008.
24 pp., stapled, $5.95.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Libby McKeever.

***½ /4


I didn't believe my mother. Right away, I went in and checked the number. The ticket matched the jackpot number on TV. So I told mom to hide the ticket under the bed.

Then we both walked down to the corner store. They had the same jackpot number. My mom kept bouncing up and down. I thought she'd have to tell the man at the store or she'd explode right there. "Shhh!" I whispered. "No one has to know."

"But we won!" she whispered, grabbing my arm. "We're rich!"

"Just keep quiet," I told her. "As soon as people find out, they'll be all over us."

"So?" Mom asked.

"So... they'll all be asking for handouts. Do you want to give all the money away?"

"Well, some of it," Mom said. "Now we can afford to be good to our friends."

"Just be careful," I told her. "Don't tell your friends. Don't tell anybody until the money is in the bank. You've got to make a plan, Mom."

Mom just looked down at me. "Ryan, how'd you get to be such a downer?"


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After losing her job and their house, Ryan's mom moved the two of them into a motel room where she worked as a cleaner. They shared one room and mostly ate anything that could be cooked on the hot plate, a situation which often meant a can of beans and hotdogs. Ryan was much more cautious and realistic than his cheery mother. He quietly saved his allowance and didn't share her love of game shows. Ryan was on the phone to his friend Josh when the news came. Ryan's mom had won 1.2 million dollars in the lottery. Ryan, cautious by nature, warned his mom not to tell anyone, but he had forgotten that Josh had heard all the excitement and soon the whole town knew. Almost immediately, Ryan was being used and bullied by kids at school who all wanted a piece of his good fortune.

     Ryan's mother's generous and unquestioning nature soon saw her dealing with long lost relatives and friends who suddenly appeared on their doorstep. But it wasn't until they put their trust in Uncle Fred that things started to change, and not for the good. When Fred's investment advice turned into a disaster, Ryan suggested they visit a lawyer. With good advice, Ryan and his mother were able to reverse the damage Uncle Fred had done and invest in their future.

     Paul Kropp is the author of more than fifty novels for young people. His work includes six award-winning young adult novels, many books for reluctant readers. Winner is a high interest, low vocabulary novel that will capture readers' attention. Readers will appreciate the excitement of Ryan's good fortune and the pressure both he and his mother receive from bullies all kinds.

     Winner would be good choice for teachers and librarians who are choosing materials for reluctant readers. A teaching resource, Winner. Teacher's Guide, is available as a companion to this novel.

Highly Recommended.

Libby McKeever is the Youth Services Coordinator at Whistler Public Library in Whistler, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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