Title: Monkeys and Dog Days
Author: Kate Banks
Illustrator: Tomek Bogacki
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 2.7
Concepts: opportunity cost, tradeoffs, work
Review: Max and Pete agree that their family needs a dog, and they do their best to show their parents they can handle the work involved in caring for such a pet. Convinced that their children are responsible enough to take proper care of a dog, Mom and Dad take them to the animal shelter, and they welcome Fudge into their lives. At first, the boys work diligently to feed, bathe, walk, play with, and clean up after Fudge. But once the excitement wears off, Pete starts getting distracted with other activities, leaving Max as the sole caregiver for the dog. Pete has to learn the hard way that there are consequences to neglecting his responsibilities.
Tucked inside this book is a simple lesson in economics related to tradeoffs and opportunity cost. Pete may enjoy doing his other activities instead of the chores, but he loses the affection of the dog. Max may grumble about having to do all the work, but he also enjoys the reward of a more devoted pet. This important message, the likeable characters, and the charming illustrations work well together to make Monkeys and Dog Days an appealing book for young readers.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children