Title: The Runaway Wok
Author: Ying Chang Compestine
Illustrator: Sebastia Serra
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Concepts: allocation, distribution, scarcity, poverty, wealth
Review: Mama and Poppa Zhang wanted to make some stir-fried rice to share with their neighbors in celebration of Chinese New Year's Eve. As a family of little means, they had no money, so they sent their son Ming to the market to trade their last remaining eggs for a bag of rice. Imagine their dismay when they discovered that Ming had traded the eggs for a rusted old wok missing its handle.
Their dismay soon turned into delight when the wok suddenly flew away on several trips and returned with an abundance of food, toys, and money. Just where that abundance all came from only the magic wok knew, but suffice it to say that the wok had a mind like Robin Hood and the magic to make it happen.
This playful picture book touches upon the idea of resource allocation and distribution, an idea often included in state content standards in economics. While magic woks are a figment of the imagination, the book could be used to initiate discussions about income inequality and redistribution in the real world.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children