The Boy with magic Numbers read by Andrew Sachs.
I read this inventive little novel many years ago but I had forgotten so many details and the audio version was an added delight.
Billy Pickles arrives home from school one day to find his dad has left them and flown away to New York. He leaves Billy a strange money box which has curious instructions about using a double B battery and inserting a nickle. Billy has neither of these things so the money box sits on his shelf. Along with a gift dad has left a huge pile of bills and so sadly Billy and his mum are forced to move into a room above dad's barber shop where mum, who is a hairdresser, must now try to eek out a living.
One day Billy receives an invitation to visit his dad in New York. He takes the money box and is met at the airport by his Italian grandmother called Mighty Mama and his uncle. As Billy returns to his Uncle's apartment after a confusing visit to dad and his new girl friend, Billy sees a man selling batteries. He buys a double B battery and then back at Might Mamas he puts it in the money box, feeds in two nickles and the money box comes to life. It speaks to Billy and says some rather odd numbers.
The next day Billy and Mighty Mama are watching a television game show. The host asks viewers to guess how many chocolate chips have been used in a large cake. Billy asks Mighty Mama if he can call in with the number from his money box. By now you have guessed what will happen. Billy wins the cake and a ride over New York in a helicopter. The battery is not long life but over the next few days the numbers from the money box will bring about huge changes to Billy and his family and friends.
I especially love the final chapter. There are six books in this series and we have some of them in our school library. This is a perfect book for someone wanting a quick and funny book with an interesting quite unpredictable plot.