A prolific author of entertaining novels for older children writes for a younger audience in the publisher's ""Springboard"" series of first ""chapter books."" As she sets out to buy her mother a fur coat for her birthday, Jenny is enthusiastic and full of ideas that show more innovation than common sense. ""Too expensive,"" her parents reiterate when Jenny asks for things, so she hopes that a fur coat will help Mrs. Archer feel less poor. With the occasional help of loyal sidekick Wilson, she unsuccessfully tries dog-training (no customers), baby-sitting (her small cousin proves too dangerous to Jenny's goldfish), and even selling the family house. In the ensuing confusion, Jenny learns that her parents aren't suffering from poverty--they just can't afford some of her ""rich ideas,"" like a horse or a swimming pool. At the close, Jenny has not only found her mother a beautiful present but is planning her father's birthday party. Conford's humorous deadpan style and gift for offhand but memorable characterization should lure readers on to the adventures of her other offbeat, lovable characters.