The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill is a great book for students grades 4th-6th.
Rufus Mayflower is a frugal 6th grader who sets out to make his own toothpaste to save money. Rufus creates a toothpaste that is so great and inexpensive, he decides to sell it to his friends and neighbors for just a penny more than he can make it.
Along with his best friend Kate, Rufus creates a booming toothpaste business with a factory, stockholders, and commercials.
A great idea that starts off in a laundry room filling baby jars full of toothpaste for friends and family becomes a full running factory with more demand than they ever imagined!
As they build their business, their math class is irreplaceable in helping them work out the details of costs, profit, prices and risk. Merrill does an excellent job including the problems in the book for the reader to solve.
With the story set in 1960's Cleveland, Ohio, The Toothpaste Millionaire briefly touches on the race issues of the time. Rufus is an African American and his best friend Kate is Caucasian. Their first interactions are hesitant, each fearing the other is stereotyping them.
This is a great book to teach students about economics and business!
The story line keeps you reading and students will love watching Rufus's idea make him millions!
This could be just a great summer read or it could spark a Lesson in Economics and Math! If you wanted to use this book for an English class, there are excellent discussion questions in the back of the book.
Students could get into groups, create a product, name the product, figure out the cost of making the product, set a price for the product, conduct a market analysis and create a marketing approach.
Students would then present their product and marketing approach to the class!
The Toothpaste Millionaire is an excellent book that is full of math in everyday life and will be a book your students remember forever!
You can find The Toothpaste Millionaire here.