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Too Small to Fail

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  197 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
1 boy. 1 girl. 1 camel. Squillions of dollars. A plan that can't fail. Or can it? Oliver's parents own a bank. This makes them very rich, very important and very busy. Oliver, on the other hand, is terrible at maths and aspires to nothing more than owning the puppy that he frequently visits at his local pet shop. When a mysterious woman buys the puppy and threatens to harm ...more
184 pages
Published August 4th 2011 by Puffin (first published January 1st 2011)
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Aug 24, 2011 Katherine rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
(BTW im reading this for my literature class at uni)
Im keeping this one very short for once. Whilst i thought this book had a very funny and great protagonist (i loved oliver): oliver who had such a vibrant imagination and such a big heart. I couldnt get over some of the themes that were in the novel - and i think the oreffered age for this book should be higher than it is. I mean Oliver at one stage is disgusted who his paretnes are is deeply upset and hurt at his selish parents. Also this book
Jun 09, 2012 Katherine rated it really liked it
This book is more serious than others Gleitzman has written (excluding Once Once by Morris Gleitzman, which is heartrending). It deals with financial themes and desperation, and rich parents and people who've lost money. It deals with love, loss, selfishness and selflessness, honour, and dishonour.

On the back it says it is a "sometimes sad but mostly funny" book, but I would say it is more sad than funny - though Gleitzman is very good at writing serious books with a humour that makes them approachable and understandab
May 19, 2011 Marj rated it really liked it
'Too small to fail' is SO much fun! Morris Gleitzman is well known for his humour, however there's much more at stake in this novel - millions of dollars, one seriously gorgeous dog and one (plus 15 more) camels, a young boy longing to be loved PLUS wanting parents who he respects. Is that too much to ask? Gleitzman steps away from the 'voice' so evident in his last few novels to create a fun yet serious story about a boy caught in the morality morass of high corporate finance. Underneath all ...more
Jul 25, 2011 TheBookAddictedGirl rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone! It's Funny, Sweet, Brilliant: I Loved It!
Recommended to TheBookAddictedGirl by: Penguin
4 Out of 5 Stars
Oliver’s parents are incredibly rich, and busy with their bank. Oliver doesn’t care about money. All he wants is the dog behind the glass at the pet shop. So when a lady comes along and buys the dog, he doesn’t think it can get any worse. Until she threatens him (the dog-him; not Oliver-him). Apparently his parents took her money and she wants it back. If Oliver doesn’t get her money for her in one week, the dog dies. Then… it gets even worse. It turns out that the woman has sixt

The reason why I chose to read the book “Too Small to fail” was that I didn’t have any book to read and my friend (Jamie) recommended that I should try and read this book. In the past when she read it she said she had really enjoyed it and has now read more books in that series. I thought I would give it a go since I had never read any books written by that author before and I was happy to try something new. When I read the blurb it sounded like a fun, exciting, thrilling and adventurous read. T
Jun 21, 2012 Becky rated it it was amazing
Too Small to Fail is set in Australia amid a climate of global financial crisis. That sounds like a heavy read, doesn’t it?! But actually, this book is full of spirit and panache and problems that are much more relatable to children and young people.

Oliver’s parents are investment bankers and they work long hours. Oliver knows they love him dearly but he is lonely. The housekeepers who take care of him are often fired by him mum. She wants a superwoman to be there when she can’t be. There is not
Sep 11, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
Oliver's parents both work long hours at an investment bank and are so busy making money that they hardly have any time for him. Oliver isn't worried about having all the latest gadgets that money can buy though, he would just like them to spend time together as a family and he would really like a pet dog. He spends his time watching a dog through a pet shop window trying to come up with ways to convince his parents to let him bring the dog home. When a lady buys the dog and threatens to harm ...more
Nov 20, 2011 LauraW rated it really liked it
I have been enjoying audiobooks a lot lately and this one was better than some of them. It suffered a bit less from the overacting sound of some of the other audiobooks I have listened to. The other significant advantage of the book over some other recent "reads" is that the plot was less predictable than many of them. There were quite a few plot twists that added an extra dimension to the story.

And, like many books set in and written by Australians, it also has a strong sense of family. I like
Jan 26, 2013 5inabus rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. This was a good book. It had loads of words in it that I didn't exactly understand, to do with finance, but it still was a good book. I liked how they crashed in the desert and Nancy sprained her ankle, and just how weird it was that the whole book was based on a dog and a camel. I think the moral of the story is you should appreciate what you've got while you've got it. I don't think his parents were mean they were just working hard for his future.

By Cormac, aged 10.

Mum's note: We go
Aug 22, 2011 Yellowoasis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
This book is perfect! I would defy anyone of any age to read this and not come out with a better understanding of the recent financial crisis. Oliver’s mum and dad are investment bankers, but like all the other banks they’ve over-extended themselves. A former employee threatens to kill the dog that Oliver has been longing for, unless he can persuade them to pay back the failed investment she was persuaded to make. Oliver’s IPO fails spectacularly when he does the maths and realises that selling ...more
Adele Broadbent
May 18, 2015 Adele Broadbent rated it liked it
Oliver’s parents are investment bankers with their own bank downtown. Sure he had an ipod, an Xbox, a playstation, special headphones and anything else he wanted – but what he really wanted was the puppy in the local pet store. When he meets one of his parent’s old investors in the store and learns they have lost all her money, Oliver is determined to help her get it back.

What follows is a story of loyalty to his new friends, and confusion over his paren’ts actions as the world’s banks begin to
Elen Caldecott
Dec 22, 2011 Elen Caldecott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
This is a really good ensemble novel. There is a main character, Oliver, and his desire to be reunited with his (sort of) dog who has been (sort of ) kidnapped is at the heart of the story. But other characters also shine through: Haydn, the disappointed banker; Rose, the stroppy camel-farmer; even the long-line of short-lived housekeepers.
Each character brings a new angle, both to Oliver's story and to our understanding of the complexities of the international banking system (really).
This book
Aug 28, 2012 Kristi rated it liked it
I absolutely love how Morris Gleitzman makes stories about real-life issues funny and for kids! Who would think that you could put words like 'default credit swap' or 'collateralised debt obligation' or 'portfolio' or 'hedged' in a middle grade book and make it funny? And true to Gleitzman's usual style, he brings the seriousness of the issue to the table. Great book.
Isaiah the Ox
Too Small to Fail was an okay book. I was expecting more humor, but it was mostly more bizarre. Camels, money, knives, and dogs- Gleitzmann somehow fit all these things together into an interesting book. Not the best I have read/listened to, but creative. The audio book was read by the author, and I didn't have much complaints with him.
Craig Bezant
Jul 18, 2011 Craig Bezant rated it really liked it
Read this in preparation for my Year 5 class. Thing about Gleitzman is he doesn't hold back. An adult's theme vividly told through an innocent child's eyes and pulled off so amazingly well. This should be required reading for anyone looking at economics (yes, that's part of the Yr 5 curriculum, exciting!), or just anyone looking for a great read. In my top 5 of children's authors.
L'histoire est complètement loufoque, mais elle a pour elle de traiter de la crise des subprimes et des excès de la finance de façon ludique, tout en apportant un fond de vérité. C'est une jolie découverte, avec un jeune héros particulièrement adorable et toute une brochette de personnalités fort attachantes (Nancy, Rose, Barclay et même Meuh le dromadaire !). Un petit roman très sympa !
Pan Fong
Dec 08, 2015 Pan Fong rated it really liked it
#money #financialcrisis #relationships #animals #mathematics

Well, this is an interesting read for me, but I wonder how it is like for children. Will they understand the maths, the issues, the emotions? That makes me wonder how different it feels to read this book at different ages.

Morris Gleitzman does have the power to make me cry and smile as I read his works.
Jun 09, 2012 Paquita rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book introducing the world of high finance into a child's story. I love the way MG does this with his novels & often read my daughter's books before or after her so we an share. This is a beauty & so timely for this decade. .
Jan 16, 2016 Naelline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Des trucs sympas mais mal reliés entre eux pour une histoire qui part un peu trop souvent dans tous les sens et à du mal à se retrouver. Un contexte de crise bancaire qui aurait pu être intéressant mais n'est finalement que très peu développé.
Oct 29, 2011 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hilarious-books
This book was hilarious. I really enjoyed the vivid, detailed descriptions about what happened in the story. I loved the different charactors' descriptions; their personalities and their likes/dislikes. I loved the way that I was captivated when I was reading it. I couldn't put it down!!!!!!!
Aug 12, 2014 Tanja rated it liked it
Shelves: chn-mystery
This book totally took me by surprise! Judging by the cover and blurb, I had expected something funny, weird... and yet, it turned out to be - yes, funny and weird - but also a mystery with lots of action, math problems, investment banking and... camels!
Feb 19, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
As usual, Gleitzman takes complex adult issues, and breaks it down to the younger readers in a way that is neither patronising or simplistic. Who else could write a compelling yet funny novel about a young boy caught up in the GFC?
Varsha Seshan
Mar 29, 2015 Varsha Seshan rated it liked it
Too Small to Fail is a journey through the deserts of Australia, in the company of an ex-housekeeper, a boy, a girl, a dog and a camel, a journey well worth taking.
Jan 19, 2015 MissStan rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds
Oliver is a very sweet character and was a great hero. I enjoyed the seemingly strange mix of characters and events - camels, banks, kidnapping and a dog called Barclay. A very quick and enjoyable read.
Christine Bongers
Jul 26, 2011 Christine Bongers rated it really liked it
Shelves: aussie-childrens
Have to admire Gleitzman's ability to fashion a morality tale for mid-to-upper primary schoolers out of the global financial crisis. Humour and viewpoint makes the pain and ethics of bank failure both palatable and comprehensible for younger readers.
Feb 25, 2013 Kartik rated it did not like it
This book didn't catch my attention at all. I thought it would be good because so many people were reading it.
Apr 09, 2013 Je-wan rated it it was amazing
It is really fun the way about how this 5th grader is trying everything to save his dog, and how his parent and he work out the problem when they suddenly go from rich to job-lost..
Tiu (tiskies)
Jun 07, 2013 Tiu (tiskies) rated it it was amazing
I didnt expect the twists and turns that occurred in the book, but I think that it all made sense. A very well written book and I enjoyed it!!!
Jun 17, 2016 Saja rated it it was amazing
This is the book that i reading in grade 4 and it got me info reading and i love it so much its so cute i highly recommend it to anyone of any age
Barbara Philip
Great book. So glad we chose this. Good teaching notes. Good for wider reading maths. Easy book for Y 6-7. Maybe difficult concepts for Y 5
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Morris began his writing career as a screenwriter, and wrote his first children's novel in 1985. His brilliantly comic style has endeared him to children and adults alike, and he is now one of Australia's most successful authors, both internationally and at home. He was born in England in 1953 and emigrated to Australia in 1969 so he could escape from school and become a Very Famous Writer.

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