The Toothpaste Millionaire

by Jean Merrill (1974)

Rufus Mayflower is a can-do kid. When his friend Kate’s book bag breaks, Rufus knows how to make another one. He is a sunny problem-solver who charms and inspires the students and friends and even adults around him.

When Rufus balks at paying too much for toothpaste, he decides to make his own. When he discovers how easy it is, he decides to really manufacture, distribute, and sell his own brand of toothpaste and take down the high-priced competition.

And thus The Toothpaste Millionaire is born. There are plenty of personalities to manage and non-economic problems to solve, making The Toothpaste Millionaire a fun title to read and share as a family.

But it’s Rufus, the problem-solving entrepreneur, that makes it an essential vehicle for Financial Literacy. Rufus learns and masters a whole set of economic challenges, including materials, labor, capital, and – the real doozie for Rufus – distribution costs. Rufus’s sunny solutions are a perfect and charming introduction to the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

Through it all Rufus remains a kid. He’s not really in it for the money. He’s just looking for the next problem to solve…

Read to Them offers a full slate of Financial Literacy activities to go along with our standard One School, One Book packet of fun for this book.  So, give your families a great read, along with a dose of economic learning with this title.

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