Planet Books


How to be a Schoolyard Millionare, by Nat Amoore (Ages 9+)

Published by Puffin Books 

Reviewed by Kris Williams

Tess Heckleston and Toby Baker are best friends.  They live across the road from each other and do everything together. 

Tess is an average ten-year-old, sort of, and lives with her Mum and Dad and four brothers and sisters.  Tess is the middle child and describes herself as an entrepreneur, as someone who comes up with ideas.  Her ideas usually involve making money like the time in Year Three when she ran a sports gambling ring at the back of the oval.  In Year 4 it was a spy ring and at the beginning of Year Five Toby and Tess started Homework Handled.  

Toby is good at maths. He is the ‘numbers guy’.  He was adopted by his two mums when he was two years old and spends a lot of time with Tess’s family.  Toby is also a good guy who donates all his money to charity.

Scotty lives next door to Tess.  He is skinny, has lots of tattoos and has lots of visitors all the time.  She can see into his backyard from her bedroom window. Scotty is not a nice person and her parents tell her to keep away from him and never talk to him.  

One morning while she is waiting for Toby to arrive she sees Scotty running through his house.  Next thing there are police cars everywhere. Scotty jumps their fence with a sports bag in his hand and hides it in Tess’s backyard treasure chest before jumping back over the fence and getting caught and taken away in a police van.

When the street is quiet Tess goes to see what is in the bag.  The bag is full of money.  A million dollars to be exact.  Toby counted it.

From then on everything changes for Tess and Toby.  There is a lot you can get with that much money.  Good things like lollipops for everyone at school, a bouncy castle on the playground, helping charities, but you can also get into a lot of trouble. Toby and Tess find themselves dealing with missing mothers, fake money, a crazy homeless lady and so much more.

A great read.  Particularly liked Tess’s tips on how to be a school yard millionaire.

Joana Partyka