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Gr 4-7-With hard work and ingenuity, even a middle school student can make a million dollars. At least that's what happens to Rufus Mayflower, the hero of Jean Merrill's novel (HM, 1974) that takes place in a racially mixed neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. The Toothpaste Millionaire recounts how the young entrepreneur, dismayed over the high price of toothpaste, decides to make his own inexpensive alternative which he sells door to door. Eventually this leads to a television appearance which increases demand for his product. He gets involved in an all out battle between top toothpaste brand manufacturers worried about market share. All of these fictional but almost believable events are chronicled by Rufus' good friend and business associate, Katy. Concerns about possible racial discrimination are mentioned, but the main focus of the book is on clever problem solving and how it can lead to great rewards. Narrator Julie Dretzin presents the story in a well-paced and youthful style. The caricature cover art showing a jaunty Rufus sitting on a pile of money adds eye appeal to the sturdy plastic case. Young listeners with an interest in making money will learn that teamwork and a willingness to keep trying are key elements for success.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"Merrill's idealistic construct of how to succeed in business without really trying functions both as a light story and as an explication of free enterprise mechanics." --"Booklist, " ALA "The illustrations are engaging, the style is light, the project interesting -- and Rufus a believable genius." -- "The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books""Breezy and fast-moving." --"The Horn Book""