A kid-friendly introduction to the basics of financial literacy.

WHEN THE RHYTHM OF THE DRUM BEAT CHANGES

A CHILD'S FIRST BOOK ABOUT MONEY

This illustrated book for children aged 6 to 10 explains what money is for, why it’s important, and how to handle it.

At the City Market in Savannah, Georgia, two African-American girls, Jai and Kara, are dancing along to the beat of nearby African drummers when the rhythm suddenly changes. Jai’s father quotes an African proverb that gives this book its title: “When the rhythm of the drum beat changes, the dance steps must adapt.” When Jai’s dad gives her $10 to tip the drummers, a conversation arises about money and how kids adapt to their new responsibilities. He takes Jai to meet Jamila Harris, his financial adviser—someone who “helps you decide what to do with the rest of your money” after you “pay for your basic living expenses.” Jamila says that money is used to pay for goods and services, and can be in cash or “stored in computers like credit cards.” When Jai gets some money, Jamila suggests, she should save half and use the rest for fun or to help others. She could also consider starting a business, such as a lemonade stand, to earn more money, the adviser says; Jai’s father says that he’ll help her set up a savings account. In time, Jai will learn about debt, investment, and taxes. The book closes with motivational quotations. Co-author Milton D. Jones (Don’t Be a Happy Meal for the Banks, 2017) is a debt-relief attorney, which gives him an informed perspective. With debut co-author Amber P. Jones, his daughter, he stresses that parental involvement is important. They recommend reading the book aloud, and Jai’s father effectively models some examples of assistance; for example, he makes saving more appealing by giving Jai a beautifully decorated jar as her first piggy bank. Overall, the information provided here will give young kids a good start. However, it may be a little simplistic for older children. The cartoonish, full-color digital illustrations have rather flat, geometric backgrounds and reuse some images, but they do capture some of the City Market’s bustle.

A kid-friendly introduction to the basics of financial literacy.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: FB2B Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2019

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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