Lilly and May Learn Why Mom and Dad Work (Anthony Delauney)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Lilly and May Learn Why Mom and Dad Work, written by Anthony Delauney and illustrated by Chiara Civati, a household economics crash course for young bookworms.

When Lilly and May’s father leaves for work one morning, the girls are feeling emotional, and ask their mom a point blank question: why do their parents leave them all day to go to work? Their mom explains that work earns their family money, to which the girls are unimpressed, claiming that money is boring. Patiently, their mom explains how important money is to the life they lead, from paying for their clothes and books and the food that they eat, to heating their house, to paying – either directly or through taxes – for the service employees in their lives. By the end, the girls have reached a better understanding of the part that money plays in their lives.

Highly educational, if slightly uneven. Delauney’s writing broaches a ton of practical issues surrounding personal finance in a way that is well-tailored to children’s understanding; his explanation of how taxes on income pay for public services, for instance, is the first of its kind that I’ve seen in a kid’s book, and is incredibly well-executed. Also critical is Mom’s explanation at the end that money is not nearly as valuable to the girls’ parents as their daughters’ unique personalities, talents, and love. The main places the book struggles is the rhyming text, which adds little to the meat of the narrative and loses rhythm on occasion, and the inherent class privilege of the characters. While the financial planning described in the story may work well for middle-class readers and higher, for families in lower SES’s, the idea of saving for emergency funds or annual travel expenses may seem a bit foreign. Other than that, the length is good, Delauney’s illustrations are sweet (if a little overly reliant on traditional gender roles in the depiction of various workers), and JJ enjoyed it. Definitely worth a look, especially for kids curious about their own family’s finances, and Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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