Chooseday Tuesday: “No Coins, Please” Gordan Korman

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Title: No Coins, Please
Author: Gordan Korman
Pages: 184

Released: March 1 1991
Publisher: Apple Fiction
Format: Hardcover

Genre: Middle Grade, Humour
Goodreads Rating: 4.26 (of 945 ratings)



Dennis and Rob find perfect summer jobs as counsellors on the JT Juniortours cross-country driving tour. Dennis is in heaven – he thinks he and his friend Rob have scored the perfect summer jobs. But Rob quickly points out what Dennis never factored in – the group of boys they’re now completely responsible for. That includes Artie Geller – Donald Trump in a 10-year-old’s body. Artie gives his counsellors the slip whenever possible to set up new business opportunities. Dennis and Rob soon learn they can’t control Artie, and that they have to hide every one of his schemes from the tour boss to protect their own skins.Visions of beautiful female counsellors are replaced by visions of bankruptcy… and the FBI.


QUICK NOTE: This post was planned for next week BUT I was unable to finish my Chooseday Read for this week. So I’m switching the two, which is why no the genres don’t match what you voted for (apologies!) but I’m still able to post on schedule. Sorry about that! **

I promise I read books that are not written by Gordan Korman! But I recently remembered how much I adore his writing, and maybe fell into a mini binge session that has invaded my posts. Today I’m all about No Coins, Please, a roadtrip novel where two counselors try (in vain) to wrangle an eleven-year-old con artist. Yes, you read that right.

This middle-grade book leaps the divide between children’s novel and YA easily. Younger readers will be entertained by Artie Geller’s plans to elude his counselors and slowly build up his cash reserves with scheme after brilliant scheme . . . while older readers will connect with Rob and Dennis’ desires for an “easy, all-expense paid cross-country trip” that is disrupted by a clever young charge. I, personally, was in love with both sides of the story and was kind of rooting for Artie as well as the counselors.

Dennis pointed to a picture of two stalwart counselors standing behind six bright-eyed young boys, all of them framed by the Grand Canyon and an immaculate blue sky. “That’s us in a few weeks.”

“But, Dennis, we’ll have kids to take care of. We don’t know anything about kids.”

Dennis shrugged. “What’s to know? You just drive them around and make sure they don’t get themselves killed.”

Rob and Dennis are the perfect comedy duo from those black-and-white, soundless films I never really watched but hear older people talk about a lot. There’s Rob, trying to keep things from falling apart (when they really clearly are) and then you have Dennis: preparing the next disaster before the first one has even settled. If it’s not Artie up to no good, then you can be sure Dennis will be doing something to disrupt the schedule.

I was super excited about the amount of Canadian representation in this book. (All my Canadians, you know what I’m talking about.) Dennis and Rob are a part of the first wave of Canadian counselors to join JuniorTours, so it’s a big deal that they make a good impression. (Let’s just say they kinda sorta don’t.) Readers get a frequent visit from the executive director of JuniorTours, Mr. Butcher, as he rails on Rob and Dennis for the many ways their leg of the tour goes wrong.



Five crowns for a standout cast of characters, non-stop laugh moments, and an inspirational eleven-year-old. I’m sorry but no matter how shady you can say Artie is for his deals … I wish I had that kind of genius at his age. And woooow, do I relate to Rob and Dennis camp counselor struggles. I recommend this to anyone who has ever worked with kids X 100!

NOW, what genre should I read for next week? Vote in the comments below!

(1) Romance
(2) Mystery
(3) Surprise!four-stars

What makes a retelling just right? Is it better to stick close to the original, or try to forge a new path? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


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