Funny money

There are so many children’s books around which communicate important and much needed messages and do this brilliantly. But equally it’s refreshing when you find a book that appears to be free of teachable moments, even scruples…

If you’re after a book which teaches children the art of sensible saving DON’T reach for Charlotte’s Piggy Bank by David McKee @andersenpress. DO absolutely grab it if your young readers like a cheeky, sting-in-the-tale surprise.

The story begins with young Charlotte being given a piggy bank by her Aunt Jane. It proves to be magic and promises to grant her a wish if she saves enough money. Charlotte starts diligently saving, doing jobs to earn extra money. But the reward she hopes for ends up slipping through her fingers.

I love this book equally for the gloriously self-motivated piggy bank/pig as for the panoramic, wrap-around illustrations, in which you have to home in on the relevant characters among lots of other street life (there is surely a perfect term to describe this but it’s not in my vocabulary – help me, illustrators!)

In fact, there is a lesson in this book, a distinctly unwelcome one. To quote the pig: “Life can be very hard.” We cannot be sure of any particular outcome and we should be prepared to be wrong-footed at any time. Maybe not by a talking piggy bank though.

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