A smart kid with a head for numbers takes on a corrupt Wall Street banker, in Everett’s debut middle-grade reader.
Toby Gold, orphaned at birth, is found in a green leather handbag. He takes his name from the word “Tobias,” written on a slip of paper lying at the bottom of the bag and the unusual gold marking on the iris of his left eye. Passed from one foster family to another, young Toby longs for a stable home but finds himself going from bad to worse when he moves into his 10th house, where foster brother Eddie makes his life a misery and steals his weekly allowance. Resourceful Toby gets a job walking the dogs of a local banker and, after exacting his revenge on Eddie with the help of his friends and some chocolate pudding (so effectively in fact that the young bully hardly utters another word for the entire book), he starts to watch the stock market reports on television. With his mathematical mind, Toby deciphers secret codes in the rising and falling commodities market and soon finds himself drawn into a web of financial intrigue. He is granted a place at the local high school for rich kids, where he unearths a scandal that threatens to bring down the name of the well-renowned school. The chocolate pudding escapades and Toby’s system for nicknaming his foster parents add some light relief along the way, and although the plot is a bit far-fetched, the story engages enough. The author makes a bold attempt at integrating some complex financial issues into the story, sometimes at the expense of his characters.
Unique children’s lit that cleverly tackles interest rates, endowments, fluctuating commodities, bullying and identity.