The Toothpaste Millionaire

by Jean Merrill (1974)

Rufus Mayflower is a can-do kid. When his friend Kate’s bookbag 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 – and how much the drugstore charges for it – he decides to really make and manufacture and distribute and sell his own.

And thus The Toothpaste Millionaire is born. There are plenty of personalities to manage and non-economic problems to solve – which makes 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 economics challenges – supply, labor, capital, and – the real doozie for Rufus – distribution costs. Rufus’s sunny solutions are a perfect and charming introduction to the question of entrepreneurial problem-solving.

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…