Meet Greg Kenton, billionaire in the making.
Greg Kenton has two obsessions -- making money and his long-standing competition with his annoying neighbor, Maura Shaw. So when Greg discovers that Maura is cutting into his booming Chunky Comics business with her own original illustrated minibooks, he's ready to declare war.
The problem is, Greg has to admit that Maura's books are good, and soon the longtime enemies become unlikely business partners. But their budding partnership is threatened when the principal bans the sale of their comics in school. Suddenly, the two former rivals find themselves united against an adversary tougher than they ever were to each other. Will their enterprise -- and their friendship -- prevail?
Clements's (Frindle) offers an uncharacteristically thin novel introducing a boy who excels at athletics and academics and is a whiz at drawing but whose "greatest talent had always been money." In preschool Greg did his older brothers' chores for pay; in nursery school he recycled his family's trash and kept the bottle and can deposit refunds; and by third grade he had "set himself a goal. He wanted to be rich." Now a fifth grader, Greg decides that "school would be an excellent place to make his fortune." Yet his business ventures selling candy and gum, novelty toys and homemade comic books land him in hot water with the principal. Though this young tycoon's ambitious aspirations and laughable arrogance are entertaining, the pace of the story slackens considerably at its midpoint, when Greg teams up with Maura, another talented artist and his longstanding rival, to launch a line of mini-comic books. Clements delivers a meaningful message about friendship, perseverance and proper priorities. But although Greg and Maura are likable and spunky, the detailed descriptions of how they create their debut books and petition the School Committee for permission to market them to fellow students grow tedious. Ages 8-12.