Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Summary: Grace is a collector and a scientist. When her grandfather takes her for a tour of an old warehouse he’s recently purchased, she’s delighted to have permission to keep any artifacts she finds inside. On a whim, she asks if she can have the 30 boxes of buttons they find there, and her adoring grandfather ships them to her home. Fast forward a few months: her class is studying the industrial revolution, and Grace volunteers to share some of her finds from the mill. A few bags of the buttons spark a fad, and before long her classmates are bringing in buttons of their own to trade and show off. The fad turns into a war, and Grace’s longtime friendship with Ellie becomes a casualty. Grace’s idea to use the science of economics to stop the craze backfires, but new friend and fellow scientist Hank helps her to keep things in perspective and begin to move toward a reconciliation with Ellie. 208 pages; grades 3-6.
Pros: Another engaging school story from Andrew Clements; I’m already considering this for a back-to-school fourth grade book club choice that will appeal to kids starting to move into “real” chapter books.
Cons: Ellie seemed like such an unpleasant kid for most of the book that it was hard to understand why Grace was so anxious to preserve their friendship.