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The Toothpaste Millionaire af Jean Merrill

The Toothpaste Millionaire (original 1972; udgave 2006)

af Jean Merrill (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
861519,417 (4.25)5
A young girl describes how her school friend made over a million dollars by creating and marketing a cheaper and better toothpaste.
Titel:The Toothpaste Millionaire
Forfattere:Jean Merrill (Forfatter)
Info:Hmh Books for Young Readers (2006), Edition: 1, 144 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

Work Information

The Toothpaste Millionaire af Jean Merrill (1972)


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When I first read The Toothpaste Millionaire in the 4th grade (about 25 years ago) it planted the idea in my mind that I could figure out complex problems and make things for myself. I started making my own soda, figuring out how to sew, and learned how to cook Duck L'Orange. I appreciated the simplicity and practicality of Rufus' homemade toothpaste, and I thought that his entrepreneurship was inspiring. I enjoyed reading books about kids who accomplished great things without adult interference, but I did like the adults who helped Kate and Rufus, like his resourceful and slave-name-shedding Grandma Mayflower, Hector the talented but unemployed mechanic, and Mr. Conti, their initially suspicious but soon supportive math teacher. The book also has some wild passages and an explosion.

Reading it again as an adult, I like that it has a message against corporate greed and American consumerism, and opting out by making things instead of buying them. I also appreciate that the Toothpaste Millionaire's protagonist is a clever, complex, and eccentric Black kid because I was a weird and eccentric multiracial kid. ( )
  motorbuffalo | Mar 4, 2017 |
I just had to get this as it's by the author of The Pushcart War.  It's great fun, but not as special.  I love that Rufus isn't profit hungry - he's selling the toothpaste at just over cost.  For 1972 this was valuable because Rufus is a black" boy and our narrator is a white girl, and that's all pretty much just fine w/ everybody.   Overall, this is a bit heavy-handed, but fun for fans of these kinds of stories." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This was an excellent book, with plenty of drama and excitement. The basic plot is that a boy and his (girl) friend start a toothpaste business. Along the way, "standard" toothpaste corporate executives try bribery, conspiracy, and other plotting against the two, but in the end, the good guys win. I recommend this book highly, but do think that children should not be writing final exams for their classmates. I also wish that the boy, Rufus, would not be sending notes so much in math class to Kate. ( )
  visionary_damsel | Dec 11, 2008 |
After several years of shelving in a public library and reading snatches of this wonderful book when I was supposed to be putting it away, I finally sat down and read it cover to cover. I have no idea why I never did before. I've loved Merrill's The Pushcart War for many years, and this story has that same whimsical, quietly funny atmosphere.

Kate MacKinstrey has just moved to a new city and started going to school there. This sounds dreadfully clichéd in a book for young people, but it's mentioned almost in passing. One day on her way to school, Kate bumps into a very interesting boy on the street, Rufus. He helps her pick up all her scattered books and offers to help her make a bike sling for them like his, out of material from the Salvation Army store. Bemused, Kate visits Rufus after school, having stopped by the Salvation Army. Within an hour he had stitched up a bike sling for her books, and they were friends.

What the story is about, however, is Rufus' crazy, brilliant idea to make his own toothpaste. He was astounded that toothpaste would cost 79 cents in the store when all you had to do was mix up a little bicarbonate of soda and use it on your toothbrush. He flatly refused to buy toothpaste ever again, and started making his own. But of course, the batch he made was much more than he and his family could use. So he started selling it in baby food jars, for 3 cents a jar. One thing led to another, and within a year the children were in big business.

The story is told by Kate, and her tone is so wryly humorous. How can you resist a narrator who writes, "If you've ever had a brother who's crazy about model cars, you know his conversation isn't very interesting. You can't even understand it. It's all about camshafts and gear ratios and rpm's." Too funny! I have such a brother myself.

I appreciated how race issues were handled in this story. It was very unobstrusive that Kate was white and Rufus (and most everyone else in the neighborhood) was black. Kate writes about Rufus, "One of the nice things about Rufus is this. He doesn't seem to mind that I'm white and he's black. He doesn't even mind that I'm a girl." This feels very realistic coming from children. They know the difference is there, but it doesn't matter in the least.

I feel that I haven't done this book justice in my review. It really is a great little story and the characters are so well-drawn. And the plot itself is quite engaging. I can't wait to share this book with my children and enjoy it together. Highly recommended! ( )
2 stem atimco | May 8, 2008 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Jean Merrillprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Palmer, JanIllustratormedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Vipah InteractiveOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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This is the story of my friend Rufus Mayflower and how he got to be a millionaire.
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A young girl describes how her school friend made over a million dollars by creating and marketing a cheaper and better toothpaste.

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