Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1297
The Prizewinner of Philadelphia
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Benjamin's family is really struggling. His father died of cancer, and his mother is working as a waitress while trying to finish up her school work and tests to become an accountant. Their rent is due, and the landlord has been sympathetic, but if they don't pay soon, they will be evicted. To top it all off, Benjamin's grandfather, Zayde Jake, has moved in with the family and his senile dementia is becoming worse. His friend Toothpick, who likes to mess around with film makeup and produce his own horror movies, is supportive of Benjamin, as is Toothpick's father, and their neighbor Mrs. Schneckle helps out, too. Benjamin comes up with several plans to earn money, including selling candy bars at school, even though it against school rules to sell anything that isn't officially sanctioned. He also enters a lot of contests and manages to win a few things like a grill or a year's supply of oatmeal, but he and his mother need something a little bigger to tide them over.

Extra points for the fun facts on toilets at the beginning of each chapter! While this was essentially a sad book, it really drew me in and kept me reading, in the same way that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn did. How bad will it get? What will Zayde Jake do next? Will the family really be evicted? There are lots of funny moments, too. In general, a great middle grade book, and the bits of Jewish culture are something that is a bit rare these days. I especially liked that Benjamin and his mother were still struggling with the death of the father but were continuing on with their lives in a productive fashion. Realistic, but hopeful in a way that many books are not.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

A Sprinkle of Spirits (Love Sugar Magic, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Leonora Logroño has finally been introduced to her family’s bakery...
The Order of Time
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
“If you’re into secret societies, time-travel, dangerous artifacts, deadly assassins,...
Thomas Edison
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Learn about the life of Thomas Edison in this early...
Pete the Cat: 5-Minute Bedtime Stories: Includes 12 Cozy Stories!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Pete the Cat for 12 groovy, cozy stories perfect...
Sabina: In the Eye of the Storm
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
As in Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" and...
Literally: Amazing Words and Where They Come From
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A stunning non-fiction picture book about the origins of the...
Ty's Travels: All Aboard!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Ty on his imaginative adventures in Ty's Travels: All...
Cuddle Close, Little Koala
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A reassuring bedtime story about the special bond between a...
We Are Together
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
The power of love and friendship is celebrated in this...
Rage and Ruin (The Harbinger, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Half-angel Trinity and her bonded gargoyle protector, Zayne, have been...
Diamond City (Diamond City, #1)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
"A thrilling adventure, through a vibrant city as alive as...
Shadow of the Batgirl
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Cassandra Cain, teenage assassin, isn't exactly Batgirl material...yet. Will she...
Of Ice and Shadows
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
The long-awaited sequel to Of Fire and Stars—in which Mare...
Agnes at the End of the World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Handmaid's Tale meets Wilder Girls in this genre-defying novel...
My Love is All Around
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Mommy Bear shows Baby Bear how love is all around...
I'm not a Mouse!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia really doesn't like her nickname - mostly because it...

Latest Member Reviews

The Ocean in Your Bathtub
 
4.0
"THE OCEAN IN YOUR BATHTUB is an informative picture book about how we interact with the ocean, often without realizing..."
Morning, Sunshine!
 
4.7
"MORNING, SUNSHINE! is an informative journey through nature and poetry. Each spread features a haiku on the left page and..."
The (other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat and Fierce
 
5.0
"3 Reasons You Need THE OTHER F WORD on your shelves: 1.) The list of contributors: The range of..."
Rocket Man: The Mercury Adventure of John Glenn
 
4.3
"Not only was John Glenn the first person to orbit the Earth, a military veteran, and politician, but he was..."
Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany
 
4.7
" The Summer Olympics will take place again in July 2020, and all eyes will turn to Tokyo, Japan as..."
Hello, World! Moon Landing
 
5.0
"This charming and informative book introduces the details of the first trip to the moon in 1969. HELLO, WORLD! MOON..."
The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator Mary Shelley
 
4.5
"What worked: This is a fascinating insight into the life of the author of Frankenstein. The beginning paragraph, when Mary..."
Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam
 
5.0
"The conflict in Vietnam was horrible, contentious, and defined the 1960s in many ways. In order to give an all-inclusive..."
Science: A LEGO Adventure in the Real World
 
4.7
"Insightful, engaging, and downright fun! LEGO hits on all the learning styles in this brilliantly interactive science primer. ..."
Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World
 
4.7
"“Women and girls have been sharing things up for a long time, resisting those who would box them in.” ..."
Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot
 
4.0
"A candid, comprehensive, and thoroughly researched look at the long fight for women’s rights—spanning nearly a century of history while..."
Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends
 
4.0
"Utilizing plain language and a kid-friendly presentation, Growing Friendships examines and addresses a wide range of socially detrimental issues such..."
My Weird School Fast Facts: Space, Humans, and Farts
 
5.0
"MY WEIRD SCHOOL FAST FACTS: SPACE, HUMANS, AND FARTS makes learning more interesting and fun. Using the weird-but-true theme is..."
Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn't Over
 
3.5
""Stay Strong. Love endlessly. Change lives." --Amy Bleuel This suicide and mental illness awareness collection is made..."
The Ultimate Guide to Gardening (Craft It Yourself)
 
5.0
"Don’t let the name intimidate you—this guide is as extensive as it is accessible. The book features 111 pleasingly..."
The Infographic Guide to College: A Visual Reference for Everything You Need to Know
 
3.5
"As approachable as it is pragmatic, this college primer could largely double as a bite-sized approach to post high school..."
She's So Boss
 
5.0
"For any girl with an entrepreneurial spirit!"
The Book That Made Me
 
4.0
"The Book That Made Me' is an anthology by several authors that tells about a book that influenced their life...."
She's So Boss
 
4.0
"SHE’S SO BOSS by Stacy Kravetz is a non-fiction guide for young female entrepreneurs who are looking to start or..."
Girling Up
 
4.0
"What worked: Encouraging info for girls on growing up. Mayim is like that cool older sis that tells you what..."