Bad choices typically land you in one place: the soup. Cole’s protagonist makes a rotten choice and soon finds himself covered in chicken noodle.
It looks like it’s Joseph’s day. He has found $15.35 in the schoolyard. His pal Devon suggests turning it in, but Joseph feels that “finders keepers, I always say.” Devon protests, but when Joseph says he’ll give $5.00 of the find to Devon...well, he pauses. When they learn who actually lost the money, Devon reverts to his original feelings, but now Joseph is in a fix: since he didn’t turn the money in when he found it, it’ll look like he was aiming to keep it. Joseph tries to convince Devon not to tell, but after a private talk with the teacher, Devon speaks to Joseph in no uncertain terms: “I’m your friend, but if you don’t give it back, I will have to tell. You choose.” As it happens, the teacher has also helped Devon plan how to return the money with no one the wiser as to who had it. The morality of the story seems a little off, as most of it revolves around a scheme to return the money and not pay the piper; it is not so much an ethical quandary that confronts the boys as a plan to escape responsibility.
It’s a bit of a cockeyed allegory: Joseph does the right thing the wrong way. (Picture book. 5-8)