August 14, 2007

Mr. Chickee's Funny Money - by Christopher Paul Curtis

When fourth-grader Steven Carter is given a dollar bill from his blind neighbor Mr. Chickee for helping him out, he doesn't think anything of it... until he looks more closely. The bill actually has 15 zeroes (a quadrillion dollars?) and features the face of the famous soul singer James Brown. Luckily, Steven is a detective, and leads Flint's Future Detectives in his town of Flint, Michigan (also the hometown of the author!) When he and his parents take the money to the U.S. Treasury Department, they realize that it might not be such FUNNY money after all. When secret government agents start hunting down Steven to get the money back, things get exciting.

Along with his younger friend Russell and Zoopy the giant dog, Steven must stop at nothing to keep Mr. Chickee's money safe and get to the bottom of this mystery.

This story is odd and tricky, but is hilarious and very rewarding. Steven is a great lead character, and the rest of the folks in this book are pretty interesting too. Read this book if you like Curtis's writing (he also wrote The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963 and Bud, Not Buddy), if you enjoy surprises, unbelievable situations, big dogs, secret agents, and young detectives.