Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

EconKids Home New Picture Books in 2006 and Earlier The Penny Pot/ by Stuart J. Murphy, illustrated by Lynne Cravath

The Penny Pot/ by Stuart J. Murphy, illustrated by Lynne Cravath

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Title: The Penny Pot
Stuart J. Murphy
Lynne Cravath
HarperCollins Children’s Book

child schooling and work, currency, goods/services, money, wants

Review: At the school fair, Jessie comes across art teacher Fran’s face-painting booth and desperately wants her face painted. But each face painting costs 50 cents, and Jessie’s already spent some of her money getting an ice cream cone, leaving her with only 39 cents. Helpfully, Fran designates a leave-a-penny-take-a-penny pot. Jessie sits down as other children come in to get their faces painted and patiently waits for enough pennies to build up to the 11 cents she needs.

Designed as part of a series of books to teach mathematics, The Penny Pot also functions to teach children some basic economic concepts regarding money. Children will learn about the different types of coins available in American currency and how much money each represents. They will also learn that goods and services cost money and how sometimes they may have to choose between different wants because of limited means. But they’ll also learn that sometimes a little contribution each from a few people can add up to a big benefit for one person.

The Penny Pot ends with suggestions for activities to expand upon the mathematics concepts presented in the book. As many of these involve activities determining the monetary value of coins or pretend play scenarios of “buying” common items, these also serve to further economic concepts.

The face-painting plot of The Penny Pot and its vivid accompanying illustrations buoy the book up from being purely didactic, so reading this book will be both educational and enjoyable for children.

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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