An informative primer on how money functions that doesn’t trigger the dismal science’s snooze button.



A sporty guide to the wide, weird world of money.

Scott starts with the early forms of barter; when barter outgrew itself as the population increased: “things that were traded simply didn’t match up evenly. There was no common medium of exchange.” Those mediums came, in the form of salt, cowrie shells, wampum, feathers, and precious metals and gems. Buoyed by Clark’s comic, explicative ink drawings, Scott sallies on to cover the evolution of currency and economy, mediums of exchange and standards, and charts the evolution of banks (“ ‘Bank’ comes from the Italian word banco, meaning a long bench on which money changers set up shop”). Numerous sidebars serve as attending footnotes to cover such topics as personalities, Hammurabi’s Code, banking supervision, and the Dodd-Frank Act. It is too much to ask this brief introduction to get into the mechanics of banking, but some illustrative examples would have been heaven sent. For instance, what triggers inflation? That would have helped the latter discussions of recession and depression. But even at surface level, readers will follow the dominos and get a good grasp of debt. They will also take a long look at “The Government Steps In,” and especially the Troubled Assets Relief Program, and likely ask, how has that alleviated the banking situation?

An informative primer on how money functions that doesn’t trigger the dismal science’s snooze button. (glossary, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58089-396-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.



A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)


Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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