Benjamin Epstein is a 7th grader who uses a toilet paper metaphor to describe his life: it used to be soft and comfortable like Royal- Toilet Paper Company, but now it’s rough and uncertain like “the world’s worst recycled, scratchy (sand)paper.” One of his pastimes is to enter every possible sweepstakes contest. Benjamin a ‘sweeper’ and when he and his mom face possible eviction, Benjamin is hopeful that he will be named the winner of the Royal-T slogan contest and solve all their money problems with the $10,000 grand prize! While he waits for that, Ben tries a few other tactics including a Halloween contest and a candy bar selling venture. There is good character development and the reader forms relationships with Benjamin, his mom, his quirky grandfather Zeyde, his best friend Toothpick, and his sweet neighbor Mrs. Schneckle. An enjoyable feature throughout the book was fun facts about toilet paper—who knew TP could be so interesting! This is a book that is much deeper and more serious than the title implies—but with just the right touch of humor to keep it balanced.
I am a middle school teacher librarian and former classroom teacher. I have a passion for all things books and try to match my readers with high quality literature in every possible situation.