The Moneybunnies Series, by Cinders McLeod
Toronto-based author and cartoonist Cinders McLeod has come up with a brilliant tool way for young readers to gain financial literacy. The Moneybunnies Series, written for children ages three to eight, was launched in 2017 with its first installment, Earn It!, and was followed soon after by Spend It! and Give It!—with Save It! available for pre-order now. This week, Nancy Paulsen books/Penguin announced they acquired the next two books in the series, How Do You Spend? and How Do You Save? continuing the playful (and essential) early instruction on money matters. Publication is slated for 2019 and 2020.
Earn It! introduces the series with simple money concepts to young readers, helped by a boisterous protagonist, Bun. She’s a little rabbit who lives in Bunnyland where carrots are the currency. Bun’s mom gives her an allowance of one carrot a week for walking their dog, Buck, and another carrot for singing to her little brother, Toonie. Bun loves to sing, and dreams of being rich and famous, but Bun’s mom offers more realistic ideas, and here is where Earn It! can help with those teachable moment experts recommend.
In the gentle and practical terms, Bun’s mom unpacks exactly how Bun might learn to sing well enough to achieve her dream of becoming rich and famous. First on the list is gaining skill through singing lessons. But singing lessons cost money. How can Bun afford them? By earning and saving her carrot allowance. With that, the fantasy takes a realistic, and achievable, turn, one grounded on dollars and cents, or in this case, carrots—earned one at a time.
Each book in the series is beautifully designed with vibrant colors and endpapers decorated in a humorous carrot-themed pattern. McLeod’s illustrations are charming and energetic and sure to keep young children engaged. Earn It!, as the author has said, introduces earning as a means of pride and independence; Spend It! teaches choice and wisdom; Save It! covers planning and patience; and Give It! love and gratitude. The latest book in the series, Save It! due out in September, 2021, was called by School Library Journal “By far, one of the most age-appropriate books on this topic.”
And this past year, the series reached another level of distinction when Spend It! was entered into Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five.
Cinders McLeod is an award-winning editorial cartoonist, illustrator, and designer whose work has appeared in British and Canadian newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Express, and Maclean’s. She is the recipient of a National Newspaper Award and a Gold Society of Newspaper Design Award, and worked as an art director and illustrator for Toronto’s Globe and Mail. She is also the creator of comic strip Broomie Law.
In a Wall Street Journal piece on financial literacy for children, personal finance advisor Nathan Dungan wrote, “One of the most important reasons to equip youth with critical financial skills is that it has the potential to significantly enhance their quality of life.” And with carrots as currency, The Moneybunnies Series provides simple scenarios that show the more chores Bun does, the more carrots she gets, and the closer she is to achieving her dream. For children, that’s an accessible introduction to the concept of what it means to earn, save, and build a future based in real-world terms.
Hear Cinders in this episode from One Page Podcast, “Show Me the Money…Bunnies! Talking Finances with Kids with Cinders McLeod.”
— Lauren Alwan