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Published: 1977
Author: {{{author}}}
Illustrator: Art Cummings
Characters: {{{characters}}}
Setting: {{{setting}}}

A child is told of all of the wonderful things that he could own. However, the child will not be able to get these things... At least, until the first of Octember. The story serves to teach a number of ideas, one of which being patience. The boy is told that he can have anything he wants, but that he must wait before he can have them. Various reasons are given as to why they can't be given to him immediately such as the weather being "too dusty" or even just arbitrarily "too soon". This poses the question as to whether or not these things are worth the wait. How does one determine that what they want is worth the cost of time? The book is very open ended regarding this subject, so it is left to the reader to come with the answer. The reasoning behind how someone can determine this may be difficult to explain to another person (Particularly children, whose vocabularies may not be well developed). Possible answers range from "I just know" to "I don't know". We might look at the problem as a utilitarian would, and assign "utils" to the rewards as well as to the time spent waiting for it. We would then determine if the reward was worth the wait or if our time could be better spent elsewhere. People also have a different sense of attachment to different things because of a values dissonance. For example, someone could value food over shelter. Children, however, are different from us in that they tend to view time more slowly than adults due to their perspective of time. For example, 15 minutes may seem like nothing to us because we have several years of perspective and memories. A child has a much shorter experience in life, and they may not remember much of their first and second years of life, giving them a different perspective (difference between 15/10000 and 15/100). Therefore, the child would likely see the problem differently than we, assigning different values to the rewards and to the time used to get what they want.

A second reason that the boy will have to wait is because money rains from the sky mostly in Octember, so it is suggested that the only reason that these objects will be brought to him is because only then will he have the money to pay for all of it. Therefore, if one considers the things that the boy wants to be a means to an end, with the end being the boy's happiness, then the items take on a purely instrumental value. If the money that rains from the sky is also a means to an end, then it too takes on instrumental value. Therefore, the child seems to be linking the acquisition of money indirectly to happiness. Does money, however, make one happy? The narrator seems to say that it is not necessarily the money itself that would make the child happy, but rather what he could do with it (namely, buying the various things that a child might want). Adults today can be divided over the answer to this question - some believe that the acquisition of wealth would make their lives better, while others may value money and capital lower than other things in their lives, such as companionship or legacy. It is worth mentioning that in the story, the child never says what he wants, rather the narrator tells the child what he may want (with the exception of one page with a list of things that the boy wants, but these things are not mentioned in the narrative). All that we see is the child's imagination about these various things and what he can do with them. The reality of what these things entail may be different than what the child expects.

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