The Amazing Adventures of 4¢ Ned (Coinworld: Book One) by Benjamin Laskin is an amusing and highly imaginative novel told from the perspective of a nickel coin – you read that correctly – named Ned who’s had the misfortune of being stamped with 4¢ instead of 5. This makes him an outcast among other coins, but hot property for collectors. As coins are ever-changing, Ned learns that he has a troubling destiny, so he teams up with a ragtag group of coins to make sure the inhabitants of Coinworld never lose value.
The premise of the book is just crazy enough to work. Laskin takes the whimsical nature of his premise and runs with it – the description in the blurb gives a sense of the tone: “4¢ Ned is e pluribus awesome.” Far from devolving into silliness, it’s actually a fairly ingenious point of view for a novel. After all, coins travel all over the place, and every purchase is another story to tell. What makes this book so fun is Laskin has covered every possible facet of what it’s like to be a coin – you’ll never look at change the same way again.
Like an adult’s version of “Toy Story,” it gives a very different perspective on the world, which is huge and daunting, but also magical. There’s also a bit of satirical commentary, without ever getting too heavy-handed. It’s mostly light in its execution, but it really is a fun read in which you’ll get easily lost in Laskin’s fantastical universe.