Todd and Amy Davidson may be twins, but they’re complete opposites – Todd is organized and is the family “engineer,” while Amy is outgoing and has been dubbed the “poet.” So it would seem that for a fifth-grade economics project, Todd would come up with a master invention, and Amy would have a blast with her best friends as partners. To their surprise, Todd can’t think of a single idea, and Amy gets stuck working with the class crybaby. Then Todd begins writing poetry . . . But this is nothing compared to the switch their parents have made. Their father has been unemployed for months and their mother has started to work at a crafts store. Now there’s never enough food in the house, everybody is always on edge, and when Amy’s friends come over after school, they find Mr. Davidson, uncombed and unshaven, in his ratty old bathrobe. Will life ever return to normal?
With chapters that alternate between Todd’s and Amy’s points of view, this novel is a realistic and sometimes funny portrayal of a family adapting to changing roles. Trading Places is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.