cover image Once Upon a Company

Once Upon a Company

Wendy Anderson Halperin. Orchard Books (NY), $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30089-3

A pastiche of elaborately bordered colored-pencil and watercolor illustrations packed with cozy details give Halperin's (illustrator of Homeplace) account of the business her children started (to save money for college) an old-world folktale touch. The approach in artwork is an unusual and particularly pleasing choice for a nonfiction picture book, one that, paired with a conversational text, helps make an intimidating subject both approachable and fun. For seven-year-old Joel and his sisters Kale and Lane, the College Fund Wreath Company was a success right out of the starting gate and quickly spawned another seasonal venture, the P.B. and J. Company--a summertime snack bar that sells lemonade and sandwiches. Told in Joel's first-person narration, the story chronicles the first six years of their business, from start-up to a thriving enterprise that employs other children and with profits to date totaling $16,000--now invested in zero coupon bonds. This warm and lively introduction to the world of business includes a glossary with additional information on words and concepts introduced in the text (complete with formulas and helpful hints). Informative and encouraging, this down-to-earth success story could inspire a whole generation of young entrepreneurs. Ages 5-9. (Sept.)