The book begins with a fully illustrated story of a group of young friends. They decide they want a puppy, but one child's mother mentions how expensive a puppy can be. This is a revelation to the children; they never realized puppies cost money. So the mother decides to teach the kids the basics of money.
As they go through the mother's lessons, the children decide to do extra chores at home to earn money for a puppy. They also pray that God will provide a way for them to get a dog. One child is tempted to spend the money on other things, but eventually decides to save for the puppy instead. All the kids are tempted to go into debt to buy a puppy, but instead help someone in need. In the end, the person they help gives them a puppy her dog gave birth to.
"'God has taught you a great lesson,' Mrs. Day said. 'You worked hard. You gave to someone who was poor. You saved some of your money. And you were honest. The Lord blessed you because you were faithful stewards.'Each chapter teaches a lesson in a kid-friendly way. In one chapter, kids learn God owns everything. In another, that God wants everyone to be good stewards of the money and things he gives them. Later, children learn God wants them to work hard at whatever they do and that they should give away at least 10% of what they earn. Kid also learn about saving money, and about prioritizing wants and needs. They learn debt should be avoided and that, when needed, they should seek council from their parents about money. Along the way, kids also learn the importance of honesty, hard work, and having Jesus as your best friend.
'Let's name the puppy Steward!' Elizabeth shouted. 'His name will help us remember to be faithful stewards with our money.'"
Each chapter is about 3 pages and ends with 2 worksheet pages. One worksheet page contains questions on what the Bible says about money, while the opposite page asks kids to identify different kinds of coins or behavior related to money.
Throughout, biblical references are given.
What I Like: First and foremost, I'm delighted my 4 1/2 year old finds this book engaging. She enjoys the storyline about the puppy, and can relate to it. One read of this book also had her asking to do extra chores to earn money for a toy she's been wanting. I also really LOVE the fact that this book isn't merely about dollars and cents. It also teaches about good work ethic and generosity.
The illustrations, which feature children of many skin colors, are expressive and interesting, and the add-ons, like easy Bible verses to memorize and simple questions and activities to do, are also most appreciated. The concepts covered are all simple - with the exception of giving about 10% of what we earn. However, the authors do give young children a generally easy way to understand how much, minimally, they should give: "You give one penny out of every ten pennies you receive. You can give more if you want."
What I Dislike: Nothing, really, although I might prefer it if the kids weren't given a puppy. It's absolutely true God rewards us for faithfulness - but as adults know, he doesn't always do so in ways we expect.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 5 - 7.
Publishing Info: Moody, 2003; ISBN: 0802431526; paperback, $13.99
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Special Info: One page includes an illustration of Jesus. Also, read our reviews of books on money.