Title: The Toothpaste Millionaire
Author: Jean Merrill
Major Themes: Toothpaste, Business
Synopsis: What happens when Rufus mixes up a gallon of toothpaste for the price of one tube at the drugstore?
The Toothpaste Millionaire is a delightful book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it with my sons over the past few weeks, and they enjoyed it, too.
The story opens with a white girl moving with her family to Cleveland, Ohio. She has a hard time making friends, especially since many of the local children are colored. Then, one morning on the way to school, she has a bit of an accident and is helped by Rufus, a black boy. They become friends immediately. One day soon after they meet, they go to the drugstore to buy toothpaste for his mother. Rufus is disgusted at the price and decides to make his own. Sure enough, it costs a fraction as much.
The next thing Kate knows, she’s been roped into helping Rufus manufacture and sell toothpaste—but what happens when the big companies realize they have competition?
The Toothpaste Millionaire is a very well-written, believable story that incorporates good business practices and a lot of math into the story line. As I said, my boys loved it and I predict any child would enjoy it, as well.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12