Richest Kid in the World

Robert Hawks, Author
Robert Hawks, Author Avon Books $2.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-380-76241-5
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While billionaire Grizzle Welsch is disguised as a homeless man, 12-year-old Josh Ellis buys him a hot dog. When Grizzle dies, he leaves his entire fortune to a most unexpected heir: Josh. Communicating through a sophisticated computer network, the deceased plutocrat teaches the boy about compassion, greed, loyalty and self-discipline. These lessons aid Josh when a begrudging employee tries to destroy the corporation and claim Grizzle's estate. The energetic storyline has many comical moments, arising mostly from its technological aspects--a talking elevator, for example, argues with the elevator operator. Unfortunately, the wordy, didactic text preempts any subtlety or surprise and leaves little to the reader's imagination. Hawks describes some of the changes in Josh's life once he inherits the fortune, but scarcely addresses other important ones, particularly his experiences at his new school. As a result, Josh's escapade seems truncated, and a story that might have had some meaning or significance becomes overly frivolous. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)
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