The surprisingly complex history of one of America’s favorite board games.
In the early 1900s, Lizzie Magie created and patented the Landlord’s Game in order to demonstrate the frequent injustices of the landlord-tenant relationship—it even had socialist alternative rules. As people began to play the game, it was adapted by players, including a business professor who called the game Monopoly. During the Great Depression, a down-on-his-luck businessman named Charles Darrow decided to handcraft and sell Monopoly boards, adding many of the design features we know today. As the success of Darrow’s version of Monopoly grew, Parker Brothers took interest—only to discover that they couldn’t patent it, as Lizzie Magie already had! When Parker Brothers finally gained rights to the game in 1935, Magie received relatively little compensation while Darrow made a small fortune. Stone presents the board game’s messy history with ease, providing a clear, linear path to today’s Monopoly without ever compromising the nuances of its invention. Direct-address narration engages children, leaving room for them to draw their own conclusions: “So who wins in this story? What do you think?” Salerno’s soft, dynamic full-bleed illustrations reflect yet move beyond the aesthetics of the game and time period, making every page compelling and fresh. All illustrated people, including named figures and background characters, appear white. Backmatter includes trivia, Monopoly-related math problems, an author’s note, and a bibliography.
Stone delivers a winner. (Informational picture book. 5-10)