Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

Top Five Books on Wants and Needs

Click on the title for each book to see book cover and more details.

Title:  Nothing
Author and Illustrator:  Jon Agee
Publisher:  Hyperion Books for Children
ISBN:  978-078683694-9
Year: 2007
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 2.2

Concepts:  wants and needs, buyers and sellers, profit

  One of the most popular clichés in economics is “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” with the implication that you cannot get something for nothing.  Jon Agee’s clever book turns this notion upside down when the richest lady in town walks into Otis’s empty antiques shop at closing time and buys nothing for something.  Amazed that this wealthy woman who has everything would pay $300 for nothing, the neighboring merchants quickly change their signs and their sales pitches – I have the finest in nothing! I sell nothing from China! – and the odd purchase sets off a buying craze.  Nothing is ingenious in the way it parodies herd behavior in consumer shopping patterns at a level that young children will understand and enjoy.

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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Title: The Giving Tree
Author and Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
Publisher: Harper & Row
ISBN: 0-06-025666-4
Year: 1964
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  2.6

Concepts: wants and needs, natural resources

A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return.

Source of Summary: Publisher

How to Get This Book

Title: Chicken Sunday
Author and Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Philomel Books
ISBN: 0-399-22133-6
Year: 1992
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  3.7

Concepts: saving, wants & needs, entrepreneurs

Summary: To thank Miss Eula for her wonderful Sunday chicken dinners, three children sell decorated eggs to buy her a beautiful Easter hat.

Source of Summary: Publisher

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Max's Dragon Shirt
Author and Illustrator: Rosemary Wells
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0-8037-0945-5
Year: 1991
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  2.5

Concepts: wants and needs

Summary: On a shopping trip to the department store, Max's determination to get a dragon shirt leads him away from his distracted sister and into trouble.

Source of Summary: Publisher

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Title: Arthur's TV Trouble
Author and Illustrator:  Marc Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
ISBN: 0-316-10919-3
Year: 1995
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  2.6

Concepts: earning money, wants and needs

Summary: When Arthur sees advertisements for the amazing doggy Treat Timer, he decides to earn enough money to buy it for his dog Pal.

Source of Summary: Publisher

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