Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Review: KidVenture: Twelve Weeks To Midnight Blue by Steve Searfoss

With the approaching summer, many kids are already letting their imaginations take flight and dreaming of all the things they want to do during these free days from school. Today's read takes a boy's desire to have a new bike and shows how he starts his own business to accomplish this. Since it's built into a story, I was curious to take a peek.

Ready to see if you can help some kids start their business dreams with this one? 

KidVenture, Vol. 1
by Steve Searfoss
Upper Middle Grade 
Business Skills
127 pages
ages 10 to 14

Chance Sterling launches a pool cleaning business over the summer. Join Chance as he looks for new customers, discovers how much to charge them, takes on a business partner, recruits an employee, deals with difficult clients, and figures out how to make a profit. He has twelve weeks to reach his goal. Will he make it? Only if he takes some chances.

KidVenture stories are business adventures where kids figure out how to market their company, understand risk, and negotiate. Each chapter ends with a challenge, including business decisions, ethical dilemmas and interpersonal conflict for young readers to wrestle with. As the story progresses, the characters track revenue, costs, profit margin, and other key metrics which are explained in simple, fun ways that tie into the story.



Determination drives a fun, little tale, while the main goal, teaching basic business, glides along effortlessly and without a smidgen of boredom.

Chance's father pays him $10 a week to clean the pool, which works out great until Chance realizes he might need more money if he wants to buy the things he desires. With guidance from his father, he soon has a small business running and even hires employees of his own. 

For any kids curious about earning money...or for adults wanting to teach basic business skills...this is a well-done and easy to understand read. Chance's desire to earn extra cash is very relatable, and the way he starts everything up is so natural that it could happen to anyone. This definitely takes a down-to-earth view on how kids can start up their own businesses, and I'm giving the author kudos for that. The relationship between the father and the kids is also healthy and inspiring. There's an obvious support coming from him and, yet, he leaves enough room for Chance to learn by experience. The book also includes visual calculations as Chance tries to figure out how much he's earning/spending, And there is a question or two at the end of each chapter, which encourages readers to consider what's happening and relate it to their own life and situation.

The book is recommended for ages 10 to 14, which works from the material end of things, since that is the age group where many start gaining serious interest in earning money and have the capability to completely understand the math and theories behind building a small business (but still think very basic). However, the writing didn't quite fit this age group and played to a slightly younger audience. As long as this book is seen as a way to teach kids basic business ideas and not as an entertaining read, this isn't a problem, though. It is a fun way to bring across the information and makes it very relatable for the reader. 

This one would also work well for classroom and homeschooling situations.

And here is Steve Searfoss...

I wrote my first KidVenture book after years of making up stories to teach my kids about business and economics. Whenever they’d ask how something works or why things were a certain way, I would say, “Let’s pretend you have a business that sells…” and off we’d go. What would start as a simple hypothetical to explain a concept would become an adventure spanning several days as my kids would come back with new questions which would spawn more plot twists. Rather than give them quick answers, I tried to create cliffhangers to get them to really think through an idea and make the experience as interactive as possible.

I try to bring that same spirit of fun, curiosity and challenge to each KidVenture book. That’s why every chapter ends with a dilemma and a set of questions. KidVenture books are fun for kids to read alone, and even more fun to read together and discuss. There are plenty of books where kids learn about being doctors and astronauts and firefighters. There are hardly any where they learn what it’s like to run small business. KidVenture is different. The companies the kids start are modest and simple, but the themes are serious and important.

I’m an entrepreneur who has started a half dozen or so businesses and have had my share of failures. My dad was an entrepreneur and as a kid I used to love asking him about his business and learning the ins and outs of what to do and not do. Mistakes make the best stories — and the best lessons. I wanted to write a business book that was realistic, where you get to see the characters stumble and wander and reset, the way entrepreneurs do in real life. Unlike most books and movies where business is portrayed as easy, where all you need is one good idea and the desire to be successful, the characters in KidVenture find that every day brings new problems to solve.







1 comment:

Kristy said...

Thank you for joining us and for the great review, Tonja!