Money Madness


This guide to basic economics will make readers think about the purpose, not just the value, of money.

What would we do without money? Long ago, people traded rocks or sheep for the items they wanted; but rocks are heavy and sheep run away, so today we have money.

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This guide to basic economics will make readers think about the purpose, not just the value, of money.

What would we do without money? Long ago, people traded rocks or sheep for the items they wanted; but rocks are heavy and sheep run away, so today we have money.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Debra Lampert-Rudman
Former math teacher David Adler's new book takes children from the time "before money" and asks them to imagine a world without it. Throughout this brightly colored book, with its money-green backgrounds on nearly every page and paper-cut collage illustrations of a smiling Uncle Sam and others, the history of money as we know it is depicted . Trading, bartering, the use of animals as money, the uses of feathers, rocks, metals, paper money, and even digital money are described and the value and usefulness of each is debated. Foreign currencies are elaborately displayed on a two-page spread. Even basic economics is covered in the final pages with an explanation of the changing value of money when prices rise and fall. Adler states that with money you can buy things you want and things you need. Money Madness is a book parents and teachers can use to open discussions about money, in general, and needs vs. wants. Reviewer: Debra Lampert-Rudman
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

Adler begins by asking young readers to imagine a world without money and the complications that would ensue. He then traces the history of our current monetary system, explaining early systems of bartering and the use of such things as rocks and feathers. Adler explains how the value of money fluctuates as prices go up and down and concludes with a discussion of digital money. One statement causes concern; the author states that "Checks and credit cards are money too, because they can be used to buy things." Regarding a credit card as money is irresponsible, and the two should not be equated. Miller's computer-generated illustrations are vibrantly colored if rather flat, but they do help to clarify and support some of the concepts and add some humor to the topic. The book will be useful as a starting point for units on money, but is otherwise an additional purchase.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

Kirkus Reviews
If there is one thing that makes the dismal science a shade less dismal, it's money, as in currency. As Adler points out up front, "People want money because it can be used to buy things." Right, but as a thing in itself, it's pretty fascinating. Money as animals, rocks, feathers, salt, fishhooks and purple beads made from clamshells are all intriguing-including their drawbacks, like your money dying on you if it happens to be a donkey-as is Adler's elemental explanation of bartering and exchange and the gradual evolution of money from precious metal to artful paper to the woefully drab plastic and digital varieties. Adler is less successful trying to make sense of how money reflects value. He explains that when the cost of ice cream goes down a dollar may buy an extra scoop, but the author doesn't explore the circumstances that may cause this. Miller's flat, digital artwork is solid throughout, providing a cheery Uncle Sam as a guide with simple stylized images set to swaths of yeasty color, flowing easily with the narrative and surprisingly emotive. (Informational picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823422722
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/4/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 454,612
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David A. Adler is a former math teacher who has written many books for young people including math titles, mysteries, biographies for older readers, and the acclaimed Picture Book Biography series. Learn more about him at

Edward Miller is an author and illustrator of books for children. He illustrated Fun with Roman Numerals, Working with Fractions, and You Can, Toucan, all written by David A. Adler. Visit his website at
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