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Children's LiteratureEarly readers are introduced to the concept of money in this "Rookie Read-About Math" book. It is formatted like a picture book, with photographs instead of illustrations as prominent as the text, but it is actually an early reader textbook. It starts out with a scuba diver looking for treasure on the bottom of the sea, followed by a picture of the kind of coins and jewelry that have been found on sunken ships of long ago. It shows what U.S. coins look like and how people work, save, and spend money. Each coin and the dollar bill is presented and described, both as to appearance and relative value. A comparison of what each could have purchased in the 1900s versus now demonstrates changing value. At the end, the coins and dollar bill are shown together with captions. There is an index and a note about the author, who worked in a restaurant at age 16 where she learned to use a cash register and make change. The young reader gets a glimpse into what money is; how its value is relative; and the interrelationship between working for, saving up, and spending money. The book is child-friendly with photos often including children like themselves or things they might want to purchase or sell. It is most helpful when the relative or actual sizes of the coins and bill are shown, such as on the cover photo. A demonstration of counting or exchanging money would be a good follow-up to the book. 2004, Children's Press/Scholastic Inc, Ages 5 to 8.
—Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.