Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, August 13, 2018

Pass Go and Collect $200

Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented 
by Tanya Lee Stone
illustrated by Steven Salerno
Henry Holt and Company, 2018
Grades K-6

How many times have you played Monopoly? Have you ever wondered how it was invented? Tanya Lee Stone takes readers back to the early 1900s to learn about the origin of the popular board game. In the author's note, Stone explains that her editor suggested she research Charles Darrow, the inventor of Monopoly. However, Stone discovered that it was actually a woman who created the game. Thus, the story begins with Elizabeth "Lizzie" Magie, an outspoken and creative woman who created The Landlord's Game. The game was intended to show players who "unjust this landlord-tenant relationship could be."

Stone relates the story of how Lizzie patented her game and tried unsuccessfully to sell it the Parker Brothers. Readers will feel a sense of unfairness when they learn that Charles Darrow later became known as the inventor of Monopoly after he made some minor changes to the Landlord's Game and sold the game to Parker Brothers. Stone speaks directly to readers at times and effectively uses questions to engage readers in the story. Throughout the story, readers are also introduced to events, concepts and places they might not know such as The Great Depression, patents, and Atlantic City. Salerno's bold gouache, pastel, ink and crayon illustrations fill the pages including a bird's eye view of Charles Darrow standing on a Monopoly board. Don't miss the back matter which includes Monopoly trivia and math.

Add Pass Go and Collect $200 to your library or classroom. It's perfect for readers who want to learn about inventors and inventions. Read it aloud then have kids discuss and debate the idea of intellectual property and who should take credit for the game.

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