Jasper John Dooley is a Book Killer. Could there be anything worse than that?
Jasper checked out a fascinating library book all about toilet-paper-tube crafts. But it fell in the bathtub—and worse, his father tried to dry it in the oven, where it caught fire, and then, tragically, the fire extinguisher ended any hope of saving the poor book. There is little left except the stinking remains and the price to replace it, which Jasper—with his early–grade school wisdom—interprets to be an insurmountable $2,500. If he can’t fix this, he’ll never be able to go to the library to participate in the popular after-school program where children read to Molly the Dog. Although he tries hard to raise the money, he knows that, even with random tips and potential profits from an all-toast restaurant he and best friend Ori start, the situation is grim. It’s only after delightful, matter-of-fact Ori cleverly observes the book price’s decimal point and says, “The thing is, Jasper? That dot just saved your life,” that things begin to look up. Adderson’s simple, spot-on text and illustrator Shiell’s frequent cartoonlike illustrations work perfectly to create an easy-to-read but ever-so-pertinent outing for emerging readers. Jasper’s issues and plans are readily recognizable for the target audience, and good humor infuses all of it. Black-haired Jasper’s sweetly diverse neighborhood charms.
Another winning entry in an altogether satisfying series. (Fiction. 5-8)