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Cash Kat Review by Martianne StangerLinda Joy Singleton
612 Johnnie Dodds., Suite A2
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
Those who love reading and also want to learn about money, community, and stewardship of the earth may be pleased to add Cash Kat to their collection of picture books. Written by Linda Joy Singleton, an award-winning author of 38 books, and illustrated by Christina Wald, an illustrator for a wide variety of books, magazine, toys, and games, Cash Kat is a delightful, 32-page, 8.5 x 10 inch, softcover picture book geared for children ages 4-8, that can be enjoyed equally well as a simple read together, an independent reading book, or a lesson-inspiring tale depending on your particular child’s level of ability.
My children and I have read through Cash Kat several times, enjoying the story of Gram Hatter and Kat as their efforts to help clean up a city park turn into a fun treasure hunt. Throughout the story, Kat picks up litter, and, along the way, finds pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and even a dollar. Each time she discovers a new monetary treasure, Gram Hatter fashions Kat a clever paper hat and helps her count up her money to see if she has enough for an ice cream cone. In the end, Kat, indeed, uncovers enough cash for a cone, but she also discovers the park needs donations for further beautification. Kat, then, must choose what to do with her treasure.
On each page of Cash Kat, bright, happy illustrations are paired with large-font black text that make the picture book easy and engaging to read. Sometimes the text of the story is written in paragraph form. At other points, it is included inside white speech bubbles. There are also illustrations of money that allow children to count and compare coins along with Kat.
After the fictional story of Gram Hatter and Kat closes, four “For Creative Minds” pages conclude the book. These pages include:
- a simple explanation of money, what coins look like, and what their value is
- information and charts that explain decimal place value as related to dollars and cents along with questions that children can answer pertaining to what they have learned
- a matching exercise where children can match illustrations of coins with numerical amounts
- information and charts on protecting the environment, cleaning up litter, and how long different types of litter take to decompose
Not included in this section of the book, but inherent in the illustrations within the fictional story, is inspiration to try your hand at paper hat making and origami.
A well-rounded book with both fiction and non-fiction elements, Cash Kat makes for an enjoyable way to embrace concepts of money, community, and the environment through picture book reading. After my family read the book aloud together for the first time, I slipped it onto our math literature shelf and put some coins out nearby.
In the weeks since, my oldest sometimes takes the book out to read again, my younger child has matched real coins to the illustrated coins in the story, and all my children have played with and counted the coins I left near the book. We have also read Cash Kat couple more times together, pausing to chat about its illustrations and themes.
Since Cash Kat is specifically designed as a “learning book”, it is not as rich in vocabulary as some living books my children and I enjoy, but it certainly has been worthwhile to read and chat about. Cheerful, fun, and obviously layered with cross-curricula themes, Cash Kat engages my children.
Cash Kat comes in an English or a Spanish e-book version for $6.95, an English or a Spanish softcover version for $9.95, and an English hardcover for $19.95.
If you seek a picture book specifically designed to open conversations while learning about money and more at home or in the classroom, then Cash Kat could be for you!
—Product review by Martianne Stanger, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2016