It's told from the POV of Stew Meat, the owner of the Coven Tree General Store. Thaddeus Blinn promises him and the three youths willing to listen that he can grant them each any one wish for only 50 cents. They aren't sure he really can, but he suckers them into paying him. He gives them each a white card with a red spot on it. All they have to do is press their thumb on the spot and state their wish aloud. But he tells them to give it plenty of thought because he'll never be back again.
"Take great care when you wish," Blinn called after us. "For it will be granted exactly as you ask for it."
Though Stew Meat simply tucks his card away and laughs at himself for nearly believing the wild tale, the youngsters each find themselves willing to try out their cards. Blinn's warning was just as he said, for their wishes come true more directly than they imagined.
Be careful what you wish for.
I can see why The Wish Giver was made a Newbery Honor Book. Though some people get rather funny regarding magic in stories, I think this is well worth reading for the allegory aspect to it. Polly, Rowena, and Adam each learn something about themselves and the people around them. That's where the real story is. The wishes simply highlight each issue, and make them think more about their actions and abilities.
Did anyone else read this when they were growing up?