“Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock” by Sheila Bair; pictures by Barry Gott
Benjamin Franklin once opined that “A penny saved is a penny earned,” so ole Ben would have loved Sheila Bair’s picture book,” Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock,” with delightfully zany pictures by Barry Gott
In an age of frenzied consumerism, where young readers are gifted not just on birthdays and special holidays, such as Christmas and Hanukkah, but ALL year, what skill sets do they learn about delayed gratification and the art of saving?
And lest you think that Ms. Bair knows not whereof she speaks, she has held positions at places such as the New York Stock Exchange, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
How do you explain to young readers, the realities of spending versus savings; and the benefits and bane of both?
Why, in a picture book, of course!
Sheila Bair’s picture book and her tale of brothers, Rock, Brock and their sage grandpa, provides a colorful caper on what what can happen when said grandpa gives each boy the following instructions:
“For ten straight weeks each Saturday,
I’ll give you each one dollar’s pay
to mow my lawn and wash my car.
These simple chores will get you far
because I’ll do a little trick:
each buck you save, I’ll match it quick!
Spend it – there’s no extra dough,
so save your cash and watch it grow!”
Now Rock seems the perfect one at the outset. He eats “good food,” “liked to bathe,” “studied hard” and is an early riser, where his brother, even BEFORE the bet with Grandpa:
His brother, Brock, lived like a slob
but saved his money by the gob.
And it’s off to the races with these two:
Brock saved his, but Rock’s mind was stuck
on what he could buy with his crisp new buck.
Right away, he ran to the mall
and bought a moose head for his wall.
What follows will have young readers hooting with laughter….and then pausing to think!
Rock, with his dollars, variously buys “a giant wind-up tsetse fly, “wax fangs that taste like peppermint,” “broccoli-flavored gum” (oh Rock, c’mon now), and a yard sale spree finds him in possession of “clown ears” and other nonsensical purchases.
Rock’s room, neat hitherto, begins to look like a mosh pit, filled with purchases of no import whatsoever, except that Rock had the money to buy things, but he also had CHOICE to save or spend.
And there’s the rub, for with Barry Gott’s cacophony of colorful pictures so outlandish in their depiction of what Rock buys, even young readers will be shaking their heads at his spending sprees:
Gramps paid out from summer to fall.
While Brock saved his, Rock spent it all.
He found toys for a dime at a yard sale-
a car with three wheels, a polka -dot snail.
He bought such bargains with his cash-
clown ears, fruit hat, a big mustache!
Soon Rock, the neater of the boys,
Found himself waist-deep in toys.
Yes, Brock does save a whopping $512 at the end of ten weeks, and Ms. Bair at the end of the book provides a neat chart for young readers on just HOW he accomplished that feat and something called “”Sheila’s Six Saving Tricks.” And let’s give some kudos to the largess of Gramps who threw down the challenge for a learning curve that made it all possible, not-to-mention Brock’s delayed gratification skills.
For indeed, Brock does do some sensible purchasing of his own:
Brock used his cash to buy nice things:
a telescope to see Saturn’s rings,
a book for mom, a shirt for Dad,
for Gramps a robe of tartan plaid.
And that’s not all, seeing the errors of his ways, Rock’s spending comes to an end, and he, too, becomes a saver!
The twins stashed bucks in their account;
for years and years they watched them mount.
By the time both had gray hair,
they found that they were millionaires!
This picture book is funny and financially wise, in that it gives young readers a heads up early in life as to the impact of both spending and saving and doing both, wisely.
Perhaps as kids you may remember that some schools had pass savings books for children at a local bank. The teacher kept the book and on a certain day you could deposit a quarter, or maybe even a dollar, into the account.
That pass book followed you through grammar school, and I clearly remember that sometimes I had a small amount to deposit, and sometimes not. But, I clearly remember the feeling as that number in the account grew. It was a felling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Please allow your young reader the satisfaction of reading the picture book called“Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock” by Sheila Bair, with pictures by Barry Gott.
Tailor made for the “buy one, get one free”, impulse buying and gotta have it, NOW generation, this is a rhyming great read that makes sense…er cents!
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