Gr 3-5Parker concentrates on paper money in its present form, giving brief but sprightly accounts of the people, buildings, and other symbols portrayed on U.S. currency, as well as descriptions of the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve System, and counterfeiting. The biographies are not hagiographicthe portrait of Jackson mentions his persecution of the Cherokees, and the sketch of Grant labels his administration ``...one of the most corrupt and scandal-ridden in United States history.'' Each vignette includes an artful mix of useful and trivial facts that will appeal to the intended audience, as will the full-color cartoonlike illustrations. The diagram showing the various parts of a Federal Reserve note is particularly clear and helpful. In comparison, Betsy Maestro's The Story of Money (Clarion, 1993) and Joe Cribb's Money (Knopf, 1990) depict currency from a variety of countries and provide much more material on its development and use. Those titles have more informative illustrations, featuring a wider variety of people. For facts on money in general, Maestro's book will better serve the same age group, while Cribb's, part of the ``Eyewitness'' series, is for an older audience. But neither title equals Parker's depth of information about the symbols on modern U.S. currency.Jonathan Betz-Zall, Sno-Isle Regional Library System, Edmonds, WA
There's a short course in American history in your wallet, and Parker brings it to life by explaining what's on the front and the back of U.S. paper currency, from $1 to $100,000. Parker provides original art on almost every page, along with a tiny photo reproduction of the currency under discussion. She greatly simplifies the facial features of the various presidents pictured but leaves their hair quite distinctive. Interesting facts about familiar individuals (Washington, Lincoln) as well as lesser-known ones (Salmon P. Chase) abound, and costumes, culture, and architecture all become Parker's subjects. She also seems well attuned to curious classroom questioners, as she includes, for instance, a section on counterfeiters. Not as narrow in focus as the title implies, this is an expansive review that will be great for history classes as well as useful to math and art students.