Once Upon A Company
Story and Illustrations by: Wendy Anderson Halperin

There was nothing to do that fall -- until Mom suggested making Christmas wreaths to sell. "You could start a college fund with the money you earn," said Boppy, our grandfather. And that is how we got our name: The College Fund Wreath Company. Sales went so well that by summer, we had expanded into lemonade and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

 

 

 

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Reviews

 
Information, inspiration, and imagination burst from this highly creative guide that chronicles one Michigan family's entrepreneurial adventure.  At a loss for "something to do," Joel, Kale, and Lane take their mother's suggestion to make and sell Christmas wreaths.  It could, she tells them, be the start for earning money for college.  With the help of grandparents, classmates, friends, and local townspeople, the College Fund Wreath Company is born and becomes a success, even branching off into the Peanut Butter & Jelly Company during the summer seasons.  Landmark events, bits of humor, and a cadre of customers and helpers flow through this real life story, narrated by Joel, who smoothly integrates various business terms and concepts into the telling.  Meanwhile, small, intricately detailed illustrations spice the pages with the people, places and happenings of this ongoing six-year venture-all tied innovatively together with decorative embellishments that provide an inviting atmosphere.  A "bottom-line" winner.--Barbara Elleman, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI School Library Journal, September 1998
 

  Halperin, Wendy Anderson.  Once Upon A Company:  A True Story.
 Ages 6-10.  This is an absolutely winning, and not easily classifiable, picture book.  It tells the story of how Halperin's three children became young entrepreneurs in their hometown of South Haven, Michigan.  Joel, who is seven the fist year, tells how he and his sisters, Kale and Lane, began to make Christmas wreaths to sell, calling it their College Fund Wreath company.  In the summer, they build a stand in the shape of a giant peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and sell pb&j sandwiches and lemonade.  At each step, Joel explains how they learned along the way, punctuated by exclamations ("Now, we were merchants!" "Now, we are bookkeepers!"), gives information about profit and loss, investing, selling, and promotion.  A glossary is included.  This is all done in the most beguiling way, and not the least of it are the illustrations in Halperin's signature style. Her pencil-and watercolor illustrations are placed in a full-page frame, with many small scenes layered in rows or roundels.  We se the children gathering pine boughs, talking on the phone; sharing space at the hardware store, and researching at the library.  Text pages have charming heads and grace notes in the manner of an illuminated manuscript, except that the images include a pickup truck and an iguana that turns up in the oddest places.  A fine seasonal title, a neat introduction to the world of business, and a clear young voice saying, "Go for it!  The world is your friend."  --GraceAnne A. DeCandido Booklist, September 1998

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