Title: The Seventeenth Swap
Author: Eloise McGraw
Major Themes: 20th century, United States, Children’s Fiction
Synopsis: Eric Greene’s friend Jimmy wants red cowboy boots—but can Eric earn enough money in time to buy them?
Sometimes, dreams are motivated by strange things. The Seventeenth Swap is a book I read for the first time years ago, and although I can’t remember all of the details, the main plot sticks with me. Eric Greene is a normal school boy, who does normal things like all other normal children. He takes care of Jimmy Nicholson, a crippled boy, three days a week.
When Jimmy finds an ad for red cowboy boots, he tells Eric how much he wants them. Eric doesn’t pay much attention at first—but when Jimmy keeps talking about the boots, he can’t get the thought off his mind. Finally, he decides to do something about it. $17.99 seems like a huge sum, but perhaps—just perhaps—he can figure out how to earn the money. One idea is to try to swap things—but what could he have that would be worth that much? And time is running out—the sale will be over in a week. Will seventeen swaps be enough to buy Jimmy’s boots? Or will Jimmy be heartbroken?
The Seventeenth Swap is a great reader for children. They will love reading about all the different fascinating people through the story, and the suspense is just enough to keep them turning pages. Eric is someone we can all connect with, and through his story children can be inspired to do the things they think are impossible. All families will enjoy reading this story, and children ages seven and over will especially enjoy it.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12