Paperboy

Willie Brinkman is proud to be helping his family with the money he earns as a paperboy during the late 1920's. Times are hard, so when the big heavyweight bout between Jack Dempsey and "Gentleman Gene" Tunney is announced, Willie hopes to earn more money by signing up to sell the "Extra Edition" describing the fight. Dempsey is the workingman's hero, and when he loses the fight in a disputed decision, Willie finds out that it isn't easy to sell papers to his working class customers!

Interested in using this resource in your classroom? Check out the posters that go along with this book: Supply & Demand, Price, Profit.

Comprehension Questions

In the story, who supplied the newspapers?

The newspaper company; Willie sells papers for the company.

What is the price of the papers that Willie sells?

Two cents each.

How does this price compare to the price of newspapers today?

Newspapers today cost a lot more - $.75 to $2.00 each, depending on the paper.

Why is the price so much higher today?

The biggest reason is inflation - which occurs when the prices of all goods and services increase over a period of time. Inflation occurs primarily due to large increases in the supply of money relative to increases in the supply of goods and services.

Why was Willie's place to sell papers considered "small potatoes?"

It was in a poorer workingman's neighborhood. Less people passed by and perhaps they didn't have as much money to buy papers.

What caused a large increase in the demand for his paper one day?

Headlines and excitement about the coming Dempsey-Tunney boxing match.

Willie sold $2.00 worth of papers on the eve of the bout. Why did he get to keep only $0.83?

He had to give $1.17 to his boss to cover the costs of the productive resources - natural, human, and capital - needed to produce the newspapers. Part of the $1.17 may also be profit for the newspaper company. Remember, though, businesses don’t always make a profit.

Why was there so little demand for papers at Willie's corner right after the bout?

The workingman's hero, Jack Dempsey, lost a disputed decision. No one wanted to read about it in the workingman's neighborhood.

Why did the demand increase so much when Willie went to the corner of Ninth and Main?

There were many more buyers/consumers - and many more types of buyers - not just workingmen.

Why was Willie chosen to sell papers at the busy corner of Ninth and Main?

He was a hard worker and didn't give up after the disappointing sales on his original corner. The boss appreciated his dedication and hard work. Willie became a "champ of a paperboy!"

Author: Mary Kay Kroeger and Louise Borden

Illustrator: Ted Lewin

Reading Level: 4.2

Grade Level: Pre K-3

Accelerated Reader Level/Points: .5

Publisher: Clarion Books