Monday, January 28, 2013

"Millions" by Frank Cottrell Boyce--a book review

What: Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce  This is a kid's book for readers 8 and up. And I think the "and up" part is very applicable. I'm much older than 8 and I didn't find the story suffered at all from being written to a lower reading level. The book has been out for a while (2005) and even has had a movie made from it, but I just recently discovered it.

The Premise: A young boy finds a bag with a lot of money in it, and he and his brother have many adventures while trying to keep it away from the bad guys that lost it. They also have many dilemmas and disagreements on how to spend the money.

The Back Story: The story takes place in England when Europe was getting ready to change to Euros. When this change happened, the old currency was to be cashed in and destroyed. Also, the two brothers' mother has died and they live alone with their father. They are all adjusting to this loss.

The Quirky Part: Everyone in the family likes quoting facts. The father likes general knowledge facts, the brother likes money and economic facts, and Damian (narrator) likes to talk about saints (and sometimes they talk to him.) You will learn a lot of interesting things about saints from this book.

Food for Thought: The book presents the moral, ethical, and practical matters of having a lot of money. There are also basic economic lessons thrown in.

Recommendation: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Boyce does a nice job of weaving the different parts of the story together without focusing too long on any one part. The story is both poignant and exciting with a little humor thrown in.The characters, major and minor, are interesting and well developed according to their place in the story. Let me summarize with this. When I think about this book, I smile.

What people who review books for a living said:
--"Witty and poignant. ...Readers will be racing to the finish to figure out who's conning whom. Brilliant." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
--"A joy for readers of all ages." Kirkus Review