What is the one thing that excites the imagination of a 12-year-old more than anything else on the planet? It’s not sugary substances in colors and flavors found nowhere in nature? The diabetic pull on the tastebuds is lessening by this age. Neither is it yet the delights of the opposite sex? Let me tell you what will get the average tween to sit up and take notice above all else. It is cold hard cash. I discovered this the first time I read Gary Paulson’s Lawn Boy to my 6th grade classes. The 12-year-old protagonist is given an old riding lawn mower, and through a perfect storm of circumstances he becomes the neighborhood lawn service. Within the first 10 pages the character has figured out the math of mowing lawns every moment of the summer, and it adds up to over 7,000 big ones. Once that little bit of arithmetic has been figured out, I have a captive audience for the next few weeks as we finish the book. Throw in a marketing expert, a more robust economy than we are presently enjoying, a few villains, and a heavy-weight boxer the size of a Toyota and I have what I like to call the perfect way to end sixth grade.