Country Living: Five-Book Series
by Donald Ball

"I started toward what I thought was the grocery store when I noticed some people looking in the trashcans in the alley."

Ted is a 13-year-old boy who lives with his parents and a brother named Dean. He has a keen interest in sailboats and works to support his hobby, but his grades in school begin to suffer. His father makes him quit his job, and Ted decides to leave home and live with his grandparents in the country to avoid problems at home. Ted soon realizes how poverty is affecting his grandma and grandpa, so he begins to plan ways to make money by plowing fields, mowing local cemeteries, or even busking as a street performer in the various towns in his part of the country with his friend Woody and his dog Spot. As Ted adapts quickly to country life, he learns how to thrive by being a hard worker and always looking for a lucrative opportunity.

This book is a compilation of five different books concerning Ted, following him from building a sailboat, leaving home, entering high school, helping his grandparents get back on their feet, and modernizing their farmhouse. Throughout each book, there are large, clean illustrations that bring Ted’s attitude and adventures to life for the reader. Each book is broken up into four chapters, so while the collection itself is too large to read at once, parents or teachers can use these natural stopping points to illustrate what life was like before the modern comforts of utilities and instant gratification. Despite his rough start, Ted is an immediately lovable character that readers young and old will root for. Kids will learn the importance of having a work ethic, self-reliance, and consideration for others by following Ted’s journey in the countryside.

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