Saturday, June 17, 2017

Grandfather Whisker's Table(Trade Winds Series) by Eun-Jeong Jo & illustrated by Bimba Landmann from Eerdmans' Books for Young Readers

My thoughts: The Trade Winds Series of books published by Eerdmans' for young readers is intended to introduce the concept of global trade and the history of how it was established. As an educational tool it utilizes historical fiction whereby the child has an engaging story that also imparts a historical fact. The back pages are packed with information that is intended for the older reader or the adult to further enhance the educational experience with factual information and a time line.

I previously reviewed Lion, King, Coin, Father's Road, and Leather Shoe Charlie in this series and found them to be a fountain of information. Children can learn facts and enjoy their reading time while doing so when a story is well presented. Each of these books has utilized illustrations that fit nicely with the period and locale of the story. In the case of Grandfather Whisker's Table the story is about an even in Siena, Italy during the Medieval period. The art is stark and somewhat abstract with colors of burnt sienna with reds and browns. It is an interesting art form for a young reader's book in that the heads of the characters are at really weird angles and cubist forms quite abstract. I reviewed previous books illustrated by Bimba Landmann - I Am Marc Chagall, and In Search of the Little Prince. While not a-typical of children's books, I find these books provide a wonderful opportunity to introduce and explain different art forms to children.

The story of "Grandfather Whisker's Table" is a sweet and charming tale of a little boy at a major even in his town and he lovingly purchases a toy for his younger brother. Then the banco (bank) aspect of the story begins with the exchange of various currencies at Grandfather Whisker's table and so the little boy "deposits" his toy with the banker for later retrieval.

The concept of currency exchange, deposits, and withdrawals is taught with the story as well as the early history of how banks operated.

This is a very good book and has a lot to offer young readers.  I think this series would be excellent additions to libraries both school and public in sturdy hardcover editions so that children can examine different art styles and learn some of the history behind global trade.

About the book: A children's story about the world's first bank

Enzo and his father are excited to be in Italy for the Palio di Siena festival. Enzo buys a toy woodpecker for his little brother, but the piazza is so crowded that Enzo worries he will lose it. Luckily, an old man named Grandfather Whisker is loaning and exchanging money at the festival. He agrees to keep the toy safe and gives Enzo a receipt so he can collect it later. But now Enzo must be careful not to lose his receipt amidst all the festivities.

This latest installment in theTrade Winds series offers readers a relatable story while providing historical information about the first known bank."

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

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