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Lawn Boy Returns Library Binding – Mar 23 2010

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books; 1 edition (March 23 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385908997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385908993
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.3 x 19.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
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Product Description

About the Author

Gary Paulsen is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people. His most recent books are Lawn Boy, The Amazing Life of Birds, Mudshark, and Woods Runner.

From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



The Origins of Economic Collapse

I sponsor a great fighter: Joseph Powdermilk, Jr. His nickname is Joey Pow.

My grandmother is the kind of person who always thinks the best of everyone. She’s also very big on family.

So when this guy Zed approached Grandma and Joey at the gym and said, “Hey, Joey! It’s Zed, your second cousin once removed,” Grandma was thrilled.

Joey couldn’t hear what the guy was saying because his ears were still ringing from his sparring partner’s accidental haymaker. Cousin Zed threw his arm around the still-reeling Joey. “I’m one a yer dad’s stepbrother Sam’s boys from his second or maybe his third marriage. Could be the seventh one, hard ta keep track a Sam, he’s always been what ya call a bad boy, gotta real taste for the ladies.”

Grandma beamed at Joey and Joey got all excited because Grandma looked so happy. Grandma hugged Zed and then Zed hugged Joey, and bam, faster than one of Joey’s knockouts, Zed had weaseled himself into becoming part of Joey’s family.

Over the past few weeks, Grandma and Joey have developed a great and unusual friendship, even though they don’t appear to have much in common. She speaks really fast and he talks really slowly; he’s enormous and powerful, she’s small and gentle. But they’re both early birds, which is great because Joey likes to do his workouts at the gym in the morn- ing and Grandma likes to drink coffee and read the newspaper there to the sound of uppercuts to the chin and body punches.

Grandma’s learned a lot about boxing recently. I walked in on one of Joey’s training sessions the other day and saw her shadowboxing in the corner. She’s been pestering Joey to teach her to feint and jab. Joey likes to have someone look after him, fussing about whether or not he’s getting enough sleep and eating enough fiber and all those other grandmotherly things.

That morning, before Zed appeared, my mom and dad had left town for a few days to look at lakefront property up north; Arnold had told us that investing some of my earnings in land would be a good idea. Grandma was staying at our house to keep an eye on me while they were gone, so after Joey’s workout she brought Joey and Zed back to my house.

Zed’s broken-down pickup truck towed an ancient camper. He parked next to Joey’s old station wagon in our driveway.

Grandma is amazing and fun, but there are times when she makes no sense. Still, if you think really hard, you can usually figure out what she means. When she said, “I have always despised the taste and texture of olives,” and gestured to this dirty, hairy Zed person as he climbed out of his truck, I couldn’t figure out what Zed and olives had in common, but I got a bad feeling.

I think I have a good sense of whether or not a person can be trusted. For instance, I knew right off the bat that Arnold, my stockbroker, and Pasqual, my lawn-mowing business partner, were good guys. And even though Joey Pow is large and slightly terrifying in appearance, I appreciated his good qualities immediately.

I didn’t get the same vibe from Zed.

“Good ta meetcha.” Zed stuck his hand out and I forced myself to shake his grubby paw. “Yer granny tol’ me how ya sponsor Joey.”

“I did?” Grandma looked a little perplexed. “Oh well, it’s like I always say: people who are cut from the same cloth can’t see the forest for the trees.”

“I know a little somethin’ about the boxin’ biz.” Zed threw a few fake punches and zipped his feet back and forth like he was bobbing and weaving to avoid an opponent in the ring.

Grandma beamed at him. Joey wasn’t paying any attention; he was petting the neighbor’s cat. Next to the cat, Joey looked, as always, ginormous.

I turned back to Zed, who had made himself comfortable in my mother’s lawn chair. He leaned back, farted once, burped twice and gave a mighty scratch in an area most parents urge toddlers not to touch in public. Charming. I moved upwind once I caught a whiff of him.

“So, uh, where do you live?” I asked.

“Oh, ya know, here ’n’ there. I was passin’ through town and heard about my cuz Joey from a buddy.”

“Uh-huh. What, exactly, did you hear?”

“I heard Joey’s gettin’ ready for a big fight. Bruiser Bulk—ain’t he the Upper Midwest heavyweight champ? From what I hear, Joey’s got a shot at takin’ the title.”

I looked over at Grandma and Joey. She’d put her hands up in front of her face and Joey was, very gently, tapping them with loose fists as she taunted him. “Is that all you’ve got? C’mon, let’s see some speed and power.” Never mind that if Joey so much as flicked her with his forefinger and thumb, he’d propel her into next week.

I looked back at Zed, who had been studying me with the same look that I see in the neighbor’s cat’s eyes when she watches baby birds learning to fly.

“I heard how ya got stinkin’ rich this summer.” Zed smiled, and I got a chill down my spine when I saw his teeth. They looked like he’d sharpened them with a file.

I thought: I’m not the only one who needs someone to keep an eye on them for the next few days.

“So, what do you do for a living?” I asked.

“Oh, ya know, this ’n’ that. I’m between jobs now an’ it seems to me Joey could use a good corner man, and who’s better to have on yer side than fam’ly? Plus I don’t go all squeamish at the sighta blood ’n’ guts.”


“Hey, bud.” Zed looked around and nodded. “Ya got a nice spread. Figger I can park my rig here? The parkin’ lot at Joey’s place don’t have much room.”

“You could, um, probably stay here while you’re in town. For a few days. I guess. Because Joey’s real busy getting ready for the fight.” And I’d rather have you where I can see you, I silently finished. Looking out for Joey’s interests was part of my sponsorship responsibilities.

“That’s real sportin’ of ya, pal, don’t mind if I do.” Zed looked way too happy about the chance to park in our driveway.

I broke up Grandma and Joey’s boxing lesson. “Zed’s going to park here for a few days.” Grandma didn’t seem to be bothered that we had just brought down the property values of the entire neighborhood by offering to host this rusted-out piece of garbage. Meanwhile, Joey helped Zed plug in the world’s longest extension cord from his camper to our garage.

Then Joey took off for his midmorning train- ing session (not to be confused with his early- morning workout and, of course, nothing like his late-morning weight lifting). Grandma went inside to rest her eyes (that’s what she calls taking a nap), and Zed—after blowing his nose without using a tissue, sending a snot rocket onto the perfectly mowed lawn—thumped up the step into his “rig” and started to fry up some roadkill he’d scraped off the interstate. At least that’s how it smelled.

And that was how the bad part started.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa1f0fec4) out of 5 stars 50 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1f000cc) out of 5 stars Disappointing Sequel April 9 2011
By teacherguy - Published on
Format: Paperback
I LOVE Gary P.'s original book in this series, "Lawn Boy". It is a great read, especially for 5th and 6th grade boys. However, "Lawn Boy Returns" has NONE of the great humor and situations that made the first book so engaging. This sequel has very little dialogue, which makes the text dense and boring, especially for kids. The colorful characters from the first book do not grow or change in this book, and we are also introduced to L.B.'s two friends and four new employees, none of whom add anything to the story whatsoever. There is also the introduction of a new character, Zed, who is crass and crude and says things that young readers should not be reading. Furthermore, the author thinks it is funny to describe Zed getting drunk and stealing (neither of which is funny for this age group). Go read "Lawn Boy" but DO NOT waste your time with this unimaginative follow-up.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1f0ff84) out of 5 stars I Love Paulsen, but not so much this sequel March 17 2012
By Pop Bop - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Lawn Boy" was fine, but not even in the top half of Paulsen's body of work. This sequel is missing a lot of what made "Lawn Boy" fun, and for the first time in a Paulsen book it all just seems labored and forced. It's still O.K., but that's about it. Never thought I'd be writing something like that, but there it is. If you are looking to try a Paulsen, look at "Masters of Disaster" or "Notes From the Dog" or, especially, "Harris and Me".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1dba90c) out of 5 stars bad sequel Jan. 18 2014
By sara gilbert - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The only new character is Zed, none of the others have grown,changed or even made me want to start a company of my own!
HASH(0xa1f12aa4) out of 5 stars Lawn Boy Returns May 16 2011
By Dave - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is really good to read. You should read it and I am very sure that you will like it. It has a lot of great scenes and you can almost picture it in your mind. If you just take the time to picture it and read it you will have a great time with this book. I read this book because I thought it would be interesting and when I started reading it was interesting.

Lawn Boy Returns is a funny book that has funny scenes. He goes to places like McDonalds on his lawnmower and the workers think he's weird. He has a lot of weird friends that don't stop dribbling a basketball and reading a book. The lawn boy is funny and it's a nice story for all ages.

It's a great book to read because has a lot of great parts. The plot is really good because he mows lawns like every day and his friend showed up asking if they could help. Lawn Boy said they could if they had lawnmowers. They did so they joined and they each took separate lawns for better business. That is only part of the book so I'm not going to spoil the book. The rest of the book is really good so you should read it.

The author is really great and writes a lot of other stories to. His name is Gary Paulsen and he wrote many other books that are funny and good to read. This is one of the books that he wrote and it one a prize. He has a lot of great experience and is really great with writing books that are interesting and have great plots. He is just a really great author and is known worldwide because he goes on a lot of journeys and writes books about them.

You should read this book because I have given you a lot great reasons why and if you don't want to read it you don't have to. All I'm saying is that you should take a look into it but don't strain your self about it. If I wanted to rate it on a scale of 1 to 5 I would give it 4 because it is really great so just think about it and maybe you will like it to.
HASH(0xa1dba0a8) out of 5 stars Lawn Boy is back, and funnier than ever! Aug. 16 2011
By Reader, Wife, Teacher - Published on
Format: Paperback
A great follow-up to Lawn Boy--just as quirky and funny, if not more so! Our hero, Lawn Boy, is having a great summer making fistfuls of cash with his lawn mowing business. When the prizefighter he sponsors wins a big fight, and fame finds Lawn Boy, suddenly life gets much more complicated. Lawn Boy Returns is another very fast read at just over 100 pages. Paulsen keeps the laughs coming with an endearing and witty narrator, and lots of action, as well as some surprising twists. Again, I think this book is mis-marketed for ages 8-12. Readers 11 and up will enjoy this humorous take on summer jobs. And fans of Lawn Boy will not be disappointed by the hilarity in these pages.