Ten-year-old Tess Heckleston is an entrepreneur. The middle child in a family of five, with one parent working, money is tight. So, Tess has a myriad of useful and effective ways of making money with her best friend Toby. When her neighbour, Scotty, leaves a hoard of money from his illegal activities in Tess’s treasure chest in her backyard, her and Toby now have the challenge of what to do with their newfound wealth. They embark on a series of activities to help others less fortunate, but adults quickly become suspicious when two ten-year-olds have a lot of cash. That is the least of their worries, however, for when Scotty is released from prison, he comes looking for his stash.
Tess and Toby are great kids with big hearts. Tess is a bright and resourceful girl who not always follows the most correct path, however well meaning her intentions are. Her family is close and loving and when her younger sister, who has diabetes, becomes gravely ill, Tess blames herself. Toby’s Mums and Tess’s parents are close friends, and when Scotty begins threatening Tess’s family, their situation becomes more serious.
This is a funny and entertaining read. The characters are well developed and Tess’s commentary in the first person is funny and witty. She offers tips to readers, usually the opposite to her own actions, and entertains with her knowledge on various subjects. This would make a great read aloud for a class or at home, with many opportunities for discussion. An absolute must for primary and public libraries, highly recommended.
Many thanks to Penguin Random House for supplying this book for review.