Written and illustrated by Cinders McLeod
Spend it! Is a great, simple story of a bunny talking with his mom about what to buy with his allowance. We see him think really impulsively and want to buy everything, then his mom explain some basic principles of costs and he begins to develop a sense of the value of money (carrots), which guides his choice of item he buys. This book can be such a helpful tool in teaching principles of saving money, spending money wisely (we see him decide not to get one particular toy because he already has a similar one), and impulse control – not running out and getting the first thing we see. Children’s brains are different than adults’ in many ways, and one of the characteristics that children don’t yet possess is thinking systematically about things. So having this book be able to visually lay out his three options of things to buy, their cost, and then to have him talk about each one with his mom in order to decide which is best is really highly beneficial is amazing! This is not an intuitive process for kids and could be extraordinarily helpful for your kids to set a pattern of smart spending. It’s written in a conversational way that makes it easy to pause the book and talk about similar real-life experiences you’ve had with your child or to discuss the principles further.
During the reading:
- As you go along and see Sonny develop each specific question, ask your child, “what do you think Sonny should do?”. Talk about what your child thinks would be the best course of action and why they think that way! Then continue reading and ask them why what happened was a good choice.
- You can ask opinion-based questions like, “Would you buy the toy rocket, the pogo stick, or the bouncy castle?” to make them more involved in the story and help them see themselves in Sonny’s shoes. This can help them to better internalize the principles from the story and be fun to make those choices.
- Counting with kids is really beneficial in their development of math and numerical skills. When you’re on the pages of carrot costs, count them out with your child (you could say the numbers together, have them count, or you do it). You don’t need to count all 100 if you don’t want to, but taking the opportunity to count the smaller amounts will be very helpful.
- After Sonny has bought the pogo stick, remind your child what the mom said at the beginning – how making choices helps you to see what’s important to you. When Sonny decides to buy the pogo stick, talk about how he found out what was important to him, so that’s what he’s spending his money on! Maybe point out some things that are important to your family that you spend money on, or ask your child for examples. That way they can see that this is true for your family and for them specifically as well.
- You can talk about how at the end, thanks to his careful choices and smart spending, he was really happy with the pogo stick! You could point out an example of your child being really satisfied with a particular purchase, or a bad example of regretting a purchase because you didn’t think about it very much first before buying. See if your child can think of any other examples as well and use those examples to demonstrate the value of the process of thinking through choices carefully to ultimately be happy with what you buy.
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Have you tried any of these ideas? Comment below to share how they worked for your family!