Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Maribeth Boelts
Illustrator: Noah Z. Jones
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Ruben wants to buy a bicycle just like his friend’s, yet he understands his wish is not likely to come true. The situation changes when he picks up a hundred dollar bill dropped by a shopper at the grocery store. Ruben struggles with the right action to take. The plot takes an interesting turn when Ruben thinks he has lost the money himself and comes to the realization that being honorable is more important than being rich.
The author depicts a dilemma that many children have likely faced while growing up and does an excellent job portraying emotions that the main character wrestles with throughout the story, such as guilt, loss and pride. When faced with temptation, especially in today’s society where materialistic goods may seem to weigh heavier than moral riches, doing the ethical thing can seem increasingly more difficult. This story invites young readers onto a journey of self-reflection through a situation told in first-person narrative. The illustrations follow closely with the story line and make the combined product more relatable to young readers.