CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 5 . . . .October 27, 2006
Kip and Zara’s Money Adventure.
Bill Roche. Illustrated by Lyn Hart.
Surrey, BC: PowerPlay Strategies (PO Box 45034, Ocean Park RPO, V4A 9L1), 2006.
48 pp., pbk., $11.95.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.
Review by Jeannette Timmerman.
"What are these?" said Kip pointing to the three pouches on Zara's belt. Each pouch had a different label.
"Money is for spending, giving and growing," said Zara, "so I keep my money in three pouches."
"My money is all for spending," said Kip. "I'll just keep mine in my pocket."
Bill Roche has self-published Kip and Zara's Money Adventure. The setting, which is somewhere in space with strange looking characters, should catch the attention of young readers. Zara and Kip most resemble humans as we know them, although Kip is green-skinned, and they both have three fingers and a thumb on their hands.
As the story begins, Zara and Kip are going dome camping in Planet Zorlu's jungle. It is their first trip all by themselves, and the trip is nearly aborted because Kip spends all his money at the laser arcade. His mother won't pay for his trip because he is supposed to be learning to live with his spending decisions.
Zara encourages Kip to earn money at the jetport before the rocket leaves for Zorlu. Kip meets a friend and earns three spondoolees by helping carry his friend's luggage. Kip carries luggage for other travelers and earns enough to go on the camping trip.
When Kip meets Zara at the clubhouse, he notices that her belt has three pouches labeled "SPEND," "GIVE," AND "GROW." Kip decides all of his money is for spending, and he puts it into his pocket. Zara gives him a supply list for camping, and they go off to the space market where Kip spends his money on Moon Crunch, his favourite treat, and ignores the list. This decision leads to a number of difficulties while camping, such as his having a non-working flashlight, no food except Moon Crunch, and being bitten by griggles since he has no spray. By story's end, Kip has learned about spending, giving and growing money, and he sets up his own money system in his empty Moon Crunch boxes.
At the back of the book, there are a number of pages to help young children set up the three-category system with the help of their parents. There are three pages of parent tips as well. If children want to, they can join Kip and Zara's Money Club and/or contact them. On the last page, Bill Roche has a message which gives a family website for further assistance in teaching money values.
Lyn Hart, the illustrator, is an instructor with the Capilano College Animation Program in North Vancouver, BC, and works with some of Canada's top animation studios. The illustrations for this book "were scanned and rendered in Adobe Photoshop." The illustrations are simple in appearance but with enough detail to catch the imagination of the reader. Colours are bright. The alien creatures will delight children to the point that they may sideline the story at times as the readers want to look at them closely and discuss them. However, this is not seen as a drawback.
Although the book is about teaching money management to youngsters and showing both positive and negative results of decision making, it does not get preachy. Concepts are set out clearly with interesting examples. The story will assist parents and adults in introducing money management to children. Unless there is a specific curriculum with a money management topic, or a teacher is doing a theme such as one on sharing or responsibility where main resources are already available, the book likely is not an addition for the classroom, but rather one for the home.
Jeannette Timmerman is a former teacher and principal with the Winnipeg (MB) School Division.
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