Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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New Picture Books in 2007

Just click on the titles to read our original reviews for these picture books and easy readers published in 2007.


Title: A Family for Old Mill Farm
Author:  Shutta Crum
Illustrator: Niki Daly
Publisher:  Clarion Books
ISBN:  978-0-618-42846-5
Year:  2007

  real estate, services, wants and needs, supply and demand

Review:  A family with another baby on the way needs a new house, but their real estate agent just cannot seem to find the right house.  A lodge on the breezy shore, a ranch house in the dessert, a mountain-top home, none of them can provide the space and setting that the family members know they want.  A raccoon realtor, on the other hand, has no trouble finding a succession of animal families the perfect home on the grounds of Old Mill Farm, an old barn nestled in the woods and hills with a stream running from a nearby pond.  Could Old Mill Farm be the dream home for the people family as well?  With its warm illustrations and parallel story lines, this unique children’s book makes a useful resource for discussing wants and needs, as well as supply and demand, in the context of real estate.

Review by:  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

How to Get This Book

Title:  Adventures of Cow Too
Author:  Lori Korchek
Illustrator:  Marshall Taylor
Publisher:  Tricycle Press
ISBN:  1-58246-189-9
Year:  2007
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  1.3

Concepts:  goods, consumers, and markets

Review:  Cow, a soft plastic toy, does not have much of a clue while shopping at the supermarket for mom.  Cow mistakes carrots for green beans and purchases limes for mom to bake an apple pie.  Cow even asks the frozen fish for directions to the mayonnaise aisle.  Not to worry though, Cow’s family members are equally oblivious and are perfectly content with the bag of groceries that Cow brings home.  Just as a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, adults can use this zany book to introduce young children to some important economics concepts, including goods, consumers, and markets. 

Review by:
  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

How to Get This Book

Title:  An Orange in January
Author:   Dianna Hutts Aston
Illustrator:  Julie Maren
Publisher:  Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN:  978-0-8037-3146-2
Year:  2007
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  3.6

Concepts:  natural resources, interdependence, markets

Review:  With its rich economics lessons, this delightful story for young readers describes the path of an orange from its growth in an orchard to its final destination in the hands of child.  The book's clear text and vivid illustrations clearly communicate the various steps along this journey, including the work by farm workers to pick the orange, the farmer’s delivery of the orange to a warehouse, a truck’s delivery of the orange to a grocery store, and the child’s purchase and enjoyment of the orange.  These lessons about natural resources, interdependence, and markets are highlighted with the idea (through the title, text, and illustrations) that the child can enjoy this ripe, juicy orange in the middle of winter.  This book is ideal for teachers, parents, and volunteers who are seeking enjoyable children’s books for younger readers with substantive content in economics and social studies.

Review by:  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

How to Get This Book

Title: All Around the Farm
Author: Heather Alexander
Illustrator: Photographs
Publisher:  DK Publishing
ISBN:  0-7566-2977-2
Year: 2007

Concepts: natural resources, capital resources, human resources, interdependence, production

Review:  This fascinating book gives children and adults alike an informative and vivid account of farm production. The rich text and abundant pictures will certainly appeal to those who enjoy reading about trucks, animals, plants, technology, harvesting, and foods.  Interesting “Fun Facts” and “Did You Know” tidbits throughout the book ensure that even the most knowledgeable reader is bound to learn something new before reaching the last page.  Did you know that around the globe, children drink more goat’s milk than cow’s milk? Another fun fact: cotton is spun into more than just fabric; it is also used to make salad dressing and dollar bills.  Intricately woven together with these noteworthy tidbits are a useful set of economics ideas about production, interdependence, and resources. All Around the Farm gets top marks for combining its substantive lessons with an engaging layout.

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

How to Get This Book

Title:  Armando and the Blue Tarp School
Author:  Edith Hope Fine and Judith Pinkerton Josephson
Illustrator:  Hernan Sosa
Publisher:  Lee & Low Books
ISBN:  978-1-58430-278-0
Year:  2007
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  4.9

Concepts:  poverty, scarcity, human resources, child schooling, child work

Review:  Based on the true story of a former special education teacher who started a school for child trash-pickers in the Tijuana city dump in Mexico, this moving and informative book teaches a number of valuable economics lessons related to poverty, child labor, opportunity cost, and education.  The authors do an excellent job communicating the difficult living conditions of the most vulnerable of the poor–children who work rather than go to school and live in shacks alongside the dump. They support their families by picking through trash looking for bottles, cans, clothes, and toys to sell and to use.  Not only are the immediate conditions miserable, with the foul smell, heat, noise, and flies, but the longer term prospects of growing up without an education are bleak as well.  

Armando, the main character is this book, is one of these children.  Yet hope for a different kind of future marches into his life when his parents give him permission to attend a school at the dump that was recently started by Señor David. Armando understands that the decision is not an easy one for his parents, who depend on his income from picking trash.  The school consists of little more than a blue tarp spread on the ground and a chalkboard, but it has a teacher and a group of students eager to learn how to read, write, draw, and do math.  Armando’s talents with drawing later help to turn new adversity into good fortune for his school.

This book makes a tremendous addition to any collection of children’s literature that focuses on high quality content.  With its developing country setting and the story of the real Señor David Lynch at the back, the book is as realistic as it is inspiring.

Review by:  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

How to Get This Book