Recently I was sent a review copy of “Pretty Penny Sets Up Shop,” the debut book by author and illustrator Devon Kinch. This is the first in a series of books, and it is both an entertaining read and an excellent teaching resource. The series itself will detail Pretty Penny’s adventures while she learns about personal finance through activities such as starting a business, creating a saving system, raising money for charity, and budgeting. These are topics all children should know, and the Pretty Penny books are a fun introduction that you can use to teach your kids at home.
Pretty Penny is a little girl with big ideas and tons of creativity. In the first book you meet Penny and her adorably-drawn pet pig and sidekick Iggy. Penny wants to throw her grandmother a surprise birthday party but doesn’t have any money. She gets the brilliant idea (one of many) to turn the junk in her Grandma’s attic (with her permission) into a “Small Mall.” She goes through the process of setting up the mall including cleaning and sorting her products, pricing, making signs, providing customer service, and dealing with money. Will Penny get enough money to throw a surprise party for her grandma? You will have to read and find out!
This book is a perfect blend of exciting colorful illustrations and just enough details to make it a fun, light introduction to what are traditionally viewed as heavy financial topics. This is the true power of this book; with an age range of 4-8, it will be read and enjoyed over and over again, allowing parents to introduce the topics in more and more detail as their children grow.
Reading with children should be an interactive experience. While reading the story and admiring the illustrations, children can learn even more if you ask engaging questions related to the story along the way. Pretty Penny offers lots of natural opportunities for these conversations and there are many activities you can do at home to expand upon the lessons introduced in Pretty Penny.
A great resource is the companion website to the Pretty Penny series. For the children who love Iggy, you can download an Iggy coloring storybook. If you would like to set up your own “Small Mall” – real or pretend – there is a full kit with printables such as price tags, signs and a store ledger.
This is a fantastic book to read if you are planning to have a garage sale, or just want to introduce some simple business concepts to your kids. After reading the story, try starting with this simple project.
Getting your “BIG IDEA” – Discussion and Notebook Activity
The story has a page about how Penny gets her big ideas. How does your child get theirs? Some people take walks, some people take naps. Some big ideas come on bus rides and others in the shower. When does your child get their big ideas?
Once you get a big idea, how do you remember it? A common trait of successful people is that they keep a notebook or recording device with them so as they get great ideas they can record them. Why not create a “BIG IDEA” notebook with your child? Make it small enough for them to carry. You could decorate a notebook from the store with pictures and words that your child find inspiring, affixed with regular white glue or Mod-Podge. Or you could create your own notebook and pages out of blank scrap paper, using wallpaper samples to make a pretty cover. It’s a simple and flexible project, and it doesn’t have to be complicated: when I was a kid, my “Big Idea” book was simply a regular bought notebook covered in duct tape.
Older children who do not want to make a notebook might prefer a small Pocket Mod that they can easily carry with them.
Looking for another activity you can do to explore business concepts? Take a look at “Home Town Tour Guides – A Creative Kids Family Business”
Also, if you have teenagers who are interested in the concepts of business and entrepreneurship, please check out my e-book: “The Art of Money-Getting”
Have you read “Pretty Penny Sets Up Shop” ? Please leave your thoughts and feedback in the comment section below!