Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: Three Cups

Looking for a practical, long term teachable moment and implementation guide for money management in your children?  Three Cups by Tony Townsley and Mark St. Germain should be part of that solution.  Beautifully illustrated by April Willy, you are immediately captivated by a story of a young boy who receives an unexpected gift for his 5th birthday- 3 cups from the kitchen cupboard.  The story continues as the boy's parents introduce the idea of his allowance and how each cup serves a purpose.  The allowance would be divided into three cups a 'give' cup for giving to charity or back to God.  A 'save' cup for long term investing of sorts.  And the third cup is for 'spend'- money free to be spent as the child dictates.  The story follows the boy as he discovers putting the proceeds of the 'save' cup into the bank, accumulating the spend jar so he can buy the new baseball glove he's wanted, and how he uses the 'give' jar to buy food to participate in a charity cause.  The boy grows and continues to use his cups and then on his son's 5th birthday the cycle of the "great adventure" begins again.

What I loved:  The illustrations are outstanding, calm, and engaging.  I like the look and feel of the book- it has an antique feel which makes it seem more important than a typical fiction children's book.  I love the basic cup concept and how it is a great visual application of money management.  It is simple, direct, and productive.  While not a new idea to the world of money management for kids- this book does a great job at presenting the idea.  There is also a great parent's guide in the back.

What I didn't care for:  Being of a christian publisher, I was disappointed that the concepts of giving, saving, and spending were not backed up with the idea that these are Biblical principles and we do them out of obedience as God's Stewards and of his commands in scripture.  Beyond being a wise idea to give, save, and spend- it is also a spiritual issue and I feel this book would have been so much better and set itself apart from other books like it if it had included this.  I also wish they had shown less of the allowance aspect, and more on earning money to put in the jars.  I for the most part do not agree with allowances and would rather see kids see the value of work (another biblical concept) by earning money to put in their jars.  This book fell short in this area.

Overall this is a great tool to teach your kids about money, but it doesn't scratch the surface of what it means to be a wise steward.

I received this book to review from Book Sneeze and Thomas Nelson publishers, but my opinions are all my own.

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