Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money: Book Review

June 26th, 2016 by

mr-chickees-funny-moneyWhenever there’s a big lottery jackpot up for grabs, I like to fantasize about what I might do with billions of dollars. I’d know I’d want to donate money to charity or set up a foundation to help people in need. But I’d also eat at a bunch of fancy restaurants and fly around the world visiting friends! What would you do if you were suddenly rich?

In Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis, Steven is faced with this question. But first, he has to figure out if he actually is rich. And the reason he isn’t sure is because he’s never heard of a quadrillion dollar bill. Yet that’s exactly what he seems to have in his possession, given to him by his friendly elderly neighbor, Mr. Chickee. It’s a bill with 15 zeros on it, along with the face of a famous singer. Could it be real? Steven is determined to find out.

Unfortunately for Steven, the U.S. government is also interested in the money. Do Steven, his younger friend Russell, and Russell’s gigantic dog stand a chance in outsmarting and outrunning the federal agents who want the bill back? Well, they’re certainly going to try!

Here’s something very important you should know about this book, especially if you’re already a fan of author Christopher Paul Curtis: This book is totally wacky and funny. It doesn’t have any of the seriousness of books like Bud, Not Buddy and The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963. The story here is just completely kooky and… well… weird! So you’ll have to suspend your disbelief at the situations that arise — not to mention at the whole premise in general! But if you can get over the craziness of what’s happening on the page, then you’ll enjoy the book. I recommend it for fans of The Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain! by Tom Angleberger and Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

And if you enjoy Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, then you can check out the sequel, Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission. In that book, Steven and his friends enter an alternate universe by jumping into a mural!

So, back to my original question: What would you do if you suddenly became fabulously wealthy? Leave a comment with your answer!

— Karen

The first restaurant that Karen would visit as a super rich person is called Masa. Dinner for one person costs about $600 there — so you can see why she hasn’t gone yet!

More about Karen »

Kidsmomo Podcast #42: “I Have a Dream”

February 22nd, 2011 by

From the Underground Railroad to the Great Depression to the civil rights movement of the 1960s — we’re traveling through time in our latest podcast, in honor of Black History Month. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Kidsmomo podcast without a couple detours along the way too…

    Listen now: 

    Download the MP3 (4.6 MB)

  • “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!” — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Our Black History Month picks (One Crazy Summer and Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman)
  • A review from YOU (Fiery Vision: The Life and Death of John Brown)
  • A Groundhog Day report (yes, you read that right)

Also, don‘t forget: our new theme is books told from multiple points of view! So send us a review of your favorite book told from alternating perspectives our picks for books with One Story, Multiple Narrators.

— Karen and Nancy

Book Trailer: Bud, Not Buddy

February 16th, 2011 by

This book trailer for Bud, Not Buddy was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our Black History Month theme. For more on Bud, Not Buddy, check out our “I Have a Dream” podcast.

The Great Depression wasn’t great for anyone, but it was really bad for Bud Caldwell. He’s the star of Christopher Paul Curtis’ Bud, Not Buddy. After the death of his mother, Bud moved from one terrible foster home to another… until the day he decided enough was enough — and set off in search of his father.

Video Time: Back to Buxton!

October 9th, 2009 by

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

In our latest podcast, Nancy and I revealed the answer to our historical fiction Mystery Book Theater: Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis.

Now, you may have been so distracted by the description of Elijah’s barfing that you missed this, but another thing we mentioned in the podcast is a video of Christopher Paul Curtis where he goes to visit Buxton.

If you zoned out during that part of the podcast, I can’t say I blame you because I know from experience that unexpected puking can really steal the show (don’t ask how I know; I just do, okay?).

But it would be a shame if that amazing video got buried under all the vomit (not unlike Frederick Douglass did in the book). So we’re bringing the video right to you. Get excited:

And if you’ve ever been to Buxton yourself, leave a comment telling us all about your visit! Or leave a comment with your thoughts on the book!

— Karen

Kidsmomo Podcast #7: “History Repeating”

October 5th, 2009 by

From the 21st century to the 1860s, then on to Depression-era Illinois and California during the Gold Rush — even all the way back to the Stone Age… In our latest podcast on historical fiction, we fire up the time machine in our minds! (As opposed to the time machine in the basement — never using that thing again after what happened last time. Let’s just say, Karen’s left eyebrow is still growing back funny.)

ALSO, we reveal the answer to our historical Mystery Book Theater! And a big congrats to these super sleuths who got it right:

  • Tessa, age 9, from Ohio — our big winner!
  • Peter, age 11, from Pennsylvania
  • Anna, age 11
  • Riley, age 9, from California
  • Tyler, age 14, from Ohio

(And also cheers to Greg, Maggi, and Sharnon — three adults who got into the act and sent in their guesses too!)

    Download the MP3 (11.2 MB)

  • From puke in the 1860s to parties in the 1920s (plus cavemen!)
  • Our historical fiction picks (By the Great Horn Spoon and A Long Way From Chicago + A Year Down Yonder)
  • A review from YOU (Between Two Seas)

And when you’re done listening, don’t forget: our next theme is mysteries! So watch our latest Mystery Book Theater video and track down these intriguing mystery books.)

AND… SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: We’re extending our mystery theme for two weeks because we’ll be out of town next weekend. Nope, we’re not slacking; we’ll be in Washington, DC for the first ever Tween Girl Summit! [Insert joke here about how we both have the mentalities of tween girls even though we’re supposedly adults — like we haven’t heard that before!] If you’ll be at the summit too, leave a comment and let us know! And for everyone else, please try to go on with your lives without a new podcast or Mystery Book Theater next week. We know it will be hard, but be strong. We’ll be back in full force on 10/19 with a new theme, and we’ll still be blogging as usual along the way.

— Nancy and Karen

Book Trailer: Elijah of Buxton

September 28th, 2009 by

This book trailer for Elijah of Buxton was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our Historical Fiction theme. For more on Elijah of Buxton, check out our “History Repeating” podcast.

OMG, major vomit alert!

What, you think no one ever tossed their cookies in the past? Well, Christopher Paul Curtis’ Elijah of Buxton will set you straight!

PS – A big CONGRATS to these super sleuths who guessed the book based on our video:

  • Tessa, age 9, from Ohio — our big winner!
  • Peter, age 11, from Pennsylvania
  • Anna, age 11
  • Riley, age 9, from California
  • Tyler, age 14, from Ohio

(And a shout-out to Greg, Maggi, and Sharnon — three adults who also sent in their guesses!)