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Follow Your Money: Who Gets it, Who Spends It, Where Does it Go? by M. Hlinka

Hlinka, Michael.  Follow Your Money: Who Gets it, Who Spends It, Where Does it Go?  Illus. Kevin Sylvester. Annick Press, New York, 2013. Print.

Follow Your Money is a fairly basic yet informative examination of the economy and its complexities, aimed at older kids and teens. The book starts off with a quick synopsis of the “spider web” of the economy and a brief rundown of the history of money and the concept of profit.  The author then breaks down the costs of various activities (a bus ride for example) and objects (baseball caps, sneakers), from raw materials to manufacturing costs, labour, transport, store markups, profits, etc. The author (a CBC commentator on business) is clever in what he has chosen, selecting objects and activities that are of interest to older kids and teens (computers, designer jeans, chocolate, cell phones, music, etc.).  There are also a couple of pages on fuel and its importance to the economy. The book then takes a brief look at banking and the pros and cons of credit and debit cards, and then finishes with resource suggestions for additional information and an index.

The cost breakdowns may be too numerous and a little dry for some readers (depending on their interest and attention level), but they are a very effective method of getting the reader to think about where things come from, how various economic factors affect prices, and who gets the profits. The author includes interesting sidebars of historical facts and trivia about particular subjects- tea, for example, or disposable bags-adding a bit of humour in the process.  The illustrations are colourful and quirky and help clarify the points the author is making.

Ideal for upper elementary and teen readers.

Highly recommended:  4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Patti Sherbaniuk

Patti is a Liaison Librarian at the Winspear School of Business at the University of Alberta. She holds a BA in English and an MLIS, both from the University of Alberta. She is passionate about food, travel, the arts and reading books of all shapes and sizes.