When I saw Kids' Money Book: Learning what God says about spending, saving, and sharing in a book catalog, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Given the state of this country's finances, this is a perfect time for a children's book teaching biblical principles about money.
When the book arrived in the mail, I was a little taken aback. The book is thin - only 10 pages, including the covers. However, it's made from board book type paper, and there are cut outs throughout for children to insert coins inside.
A quick glance at the book shows vivid illustrations and lots of sidebars; some of the latter are just for fun. For example, there are hidden picture games and mazes. Others ask kids to consider difficult questions, like whether the children in the book are spending their money wisely, or whether they've ever thought what it might be like to not be able to afford toys and clothes. And every two page spread has holes for coins, to encourage kids to learn denominations and counting with money. (For example, when the children in the book spend 30 cents for food to feed a zoo animal, readers are asked to place three dimes in the slots. Elsewhere, a "piggy bank" is shown full of slots, and readers are asked math questions like "How much money is in the piggy bank when it's full?")
The heart of the book, however, is a series of short stories about Nick and Grace, two young children. In the first story, they go to the zoo, paying to get in, and paying to feed the giraffes. Nick also considers buying a game at the gift shop, but remembers the Bible verse "Choose the good." (Isaiah 7:16) and decides he'll decide later whether to buy it. Later, he asks Grace if she'll lend him the money to buy the game, and we learn that the Bible tells us:
"We must restore or pay back anything we borrow (Psalm 37:21)Then readers are asked: "How would you answer Nick? If Grace lends Nick her money, what does Nick need to do?"
We must share willingly and gladly (Matthew 5:42)
We must use wisely everything God has given to us (Luke 19:15 - 26"
Next the kids visit a toy store; initially, they want to buy something for themselves, but then they see the store is gathering toys for needy children. They recall the Bible verse: "Remember the poor." (Galations 2:10) Nick decides to buy a toy both for himself and for a needy child; Grace only buys for the needy child.
Now the children head to an amusement park; they are planning to ride the roller coaster when a girl next to them says she doesn't have enough money for the ride because she lost a dime. Nick and Grace remember the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31) and give her the dime she needs.
What I Like: I love the concept of this book! The format, while expensive to produce, does provide some nice opportunities for money counting. All the sidebars add lots of fun, too.
What I Dislike: This book just doesn't meet my expectations. Sometimes the Bible verses barely seem to support what's being taught in the story, and other times I think clearer Bible verses could have been implemented. Too, so many important biblical principles are left out. The most obvious is tithing, but what about the idea that God gives us our money? That we shouldn't seek money or material things? Or that love of money leads to bad things? Leaving these important principles out makes this book a bit wishy-washy.
Overall Rating: Despite this book's flaws, there is no other Christian children's money book this young-kid-friendly. With parental guidance, I think it's a good tool for an introduction to money. Therefore, I give it a "Very Good" rating.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 6 and up, but my 3 year old finds it interesting.
Publisher Info: Product Concept Manufacturing, 2008; ISBN: 6339572001; spiral bound board book, $12.99.