HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue: KidVenture Vol. 1
Author: Steve Searfoss
Publisher: Independently published, 2020
Related website(s): http://www.kidventurebook.com (book)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-13
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: General youth fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Searfoss, Steve. Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue: KidVenture Vol. 1 (Published in 2020 by Stephen W. Searfoss). Ten year old Chauncey Sterling, who is called “Chance,” lives with his father, mother, younger sister Addison (Addie), and baby brother. It is the beginning of the summer before Chance’s sixth grade year, and he wants to buy a midnight blue bicycle that costs $225.00. His dad tells him that he has to earn the money and offers to pay him $10.00 a week to clean their pool, but that’s not enough. Chance figures that he can make even more money by starting a business cleaning other people’s pools in the neighborhood too. Readers will join Chance as he looks for new customers, discovers how much to charge them, takes on a business partner (his sister Addie), recruits an employee (his best friend Amit), deals with difficult clients, and uses math to figure out how to make a profit.
With only twelve weeks to reach his goal, will Chance get the bike? Can he and Addie find enough customers to make it worthwhile? And how does the business affect his friendship with Amit? This book would make a great resource for a homeschool study of basic economics and especially of entrepreneurship to teach kids about business and economics in a fun, meaningful way and to inspire them to be entrepreneurs. There are not many books that explain to middle-grade children what business is about and help them to figure out how to market a company, understand risk, and negotiate. Each chapter ends with a challenge, including questions about business decisions, ethical dilemmas and interpersonal conflict for young readers to wrestle with.
As the story, which expertly combines entertainment with education, progresses, the characters track revenue, costs, profit margin, and other key concepts which are explained in simple, fun ways that tie into the story without being overwhelming or overly simplistic. Chance runs into problems at every turn, facing adversity and setbacks in his business endeavors, but with his dad’s advice, he learns about customer acquisition costs, profit margins, employee management, how to find vendors, calculating profit, conducting market research, and lots of math. Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue is identified as “KidVenture Vol. 1,” so one might assume that there will be others to follow. Kirkus Reviews called it “An entertaining, instructive novel about a kid-driven business.”