The Can Man

By Kelley Goodfield, Sacopee Valley Middle School

A young boy learns the difference between want and need in this picture book. Tim has a birthday coming up and wants a new skateboard. His father tells him they don’t have enough money for that and Tim has not saved enough to get it on his own. After watching a neighborhood homeless man, The Can Man, collect cans, he decides that he could do the same thing to raise money for his skateboard. Tim starts to feel guilty about taking cans away from the Can Man when he passes him on the street and see that he has an empty cart. The Can Man explains that he was saving for a new coat before the snow flies. Later, the Can Man helps Tim transport his bottles to the redemption center. After getting his money, Tim realizes that the Can Man needs a coat more than Tim needs a skateboard and gives him the money. In return, Joe refinishes an old skateboard for Tim so that he can have one of his own. The story eludes to the Can Man losing his job, but doesn’t really go into too much detail about how he became homeless. Watercolor illustrations show the sadness but are not too depressing.