Synopses & Reviews
Ernie is an ambitious young entrepreneur who runs pet funerals. Business is good--there are a lot of dead bunnies and expired ant-farm colonies--but it goes through the roof once he hires Swimming Pool, a tomboy who's a great crier. However, Ernie gets greedy and refuses to give Swimming Pool the raise she deserves. So Swimming Pool goes out on her own. She soon misses being part of the team, but neither Ernie nor Swimming Pool will admit that they need each other. This is a hilarious, touching book about commerce and friendship.
Ernie is a twelve-year-old tycoon, always on the lookout for a fast buck. This time he stumbles onto a money-making bonanza: pet funerals. He hires Dusty to decorate the burial boxes and Tony to dig the holes, but his prize find is Swimming Pool, a tomboy who can cry on cue. andlt;BRandgt; Business goes through the roof -- until Ernie loses Swimming Pool over a raise and the whole venture unravels. Here is a rollicking, fun-spirited novel about friendship, loss, business -- and how we learn to express our feelings.
Ambitious young entrepreneur Ernie runs a pet funeral business that explodes when he hires tomboy Swimming Pool, who's a great crier. Illustrations.
About the Author
Tony DiTerlizzi is the author of The Search for WondLa and A Hero for WondLa. He is also the co-creator and illustrator of the bestselling Spiderwick Chronicles and the author and illustrator of Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure as well as the Zena Sutherland Award-winning Ted. His brilliantly cinematic version of Mary Howitt’s classic The Spider and The Fly earned Tony his second Zena Sutherland Award and also received a Caldecott Honor. Tony’s art has also graced the covers of such well-known fantasy writers as Peter S. Beagle, J. R. R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, and Greg Bear. His first chapter book, Kenny & the Dragon, debuted as a New York Times bestseller. He lives with his wife Angela and their daughter in Western Massachusetts and Jupiter, Florida. Visit Tony online at DiTerlizzi.com.
Reading Group Guide
ABOUT THE BOOK
Ernie, a twelve-year-old entrepreneur, has money on his mind. Although Ernie is used to going it on his own, his most lucrative moneymaking scheme -- a pet funeral business -- involves employees. This proves to cause a few disagreements as Ernie learns that money isn't everything.
Pets; Death; Funerals; Moneymaking scams; Friendship
€ Why were the neighborhood kids leery of Cat Lady? Was Ernie brave in going to see her? What did Cat Lady think about Ernie? Did Cat Lady help Ernie? If so, how?
€ How did Swimming Pool feel about her brother, Rick? Describe their relationship.
€ What would you have done if you were Swimming Pool and Ernie did not give you the raise he promised? Do you think that Swimming Pool deserved a raise? Did Ernie make a good business decision? Why or why not?
€ Dusty was a neutral friend of Ernie and Swimming Pool. Is there anything that he could have done differently to help the relationship between the two? Do you think that Ernie treated Dusty fairly for his share of work in the business? Why or why not?
€ Was Ernie a good businessman or did he take advantage of people? Explain.
€ Design your own theme for a pet funeral. Plan the entire funeral including the schedule, program, and any props to enhance your theme.
€ Write an obituary for a pet.
€ Write an advertisement for one of the jobs in the story.
€ Choose a character and write a persuasive letter asking your boss for a raise.
€ Research salaries of interesting jobs.
€ Create a 3-D tombstone for one of the pet funerals. Do research to find out what information is included on a tombstone.
This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Theresa Love
© William Allen White Children's Book Award
Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.