Howie Bowles and Uncle Sam

Illustrated by Isaac Millman Published September 2000

On the same day that Howie Bowles finds out that he was born on Friday the thirteenth, his teacher tells him that he should pay more attention to numbers. Then he gets a phone call from the Internal Revenue Service, telling him he made a mistake filling out a form and owes Uncle Sam $112.15. He doesn’t know who this guy Sam is, or what form it is he made a mistake on, but the IRS says that “failure to pay could result in penalty and imprisonment!” Howie only has $15.17. How can he ever raise $96.98 in one week? He’s resigned to his fate of going to prison until his mom finds out what’s troubling him, and together they discover that there is another Howie Bowles! In short chapters with snappy dialogue, Kate Banks continues the adventures of Howie Bowles, a likable, worried little boy.

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Banks brings back Howie Bowles, who embodies the angst of every third-grader, for another delightful adventure. When Howie discovers he was born on Friday the thirteenth, he knows why he is having such bad luck…This comical story, heightened by Isaac Millman’s expressive illustrations, is right on target for the age group.

School Library Journal

Howie’s character, which is fraught with insecurities, and the humor are well developed…this easy chapter book should appeal to younger readers. —Sharon McNeil, Los Angeles County Office of Education