Title: Mary's Penny
Author: Tanya Landman
Illustrator: Richard Holland
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Concepts: competition, money, innovation, property rights
Review: Once upon a time, a farmer needed to make an important decision. Which of his beefy sons, Hans or Franz, would inherit his farm? He did not consider his daughter, for at the time, no one believed that women could operate a farm. The man came up with a competition: the farm would go to whichever son could fill the house with something he purchased for a penny. When both sons failed, Mary had an opportunity to prove that it took brains rather than brawn to win such a competition and to run a farm.
This adaptation of an old fable provides young readers with a lighthearted story about the value of money as well as the transfer of property rights. Mixed media images in a folk art style help to set a timeless mood in which one could easily imagine how spending a penny could influence a large inheritance.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children