The Money We'll Save
By Brock Cole
(Farrar Straus Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374350116, 40pp.)
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
List Price: $16.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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One of "Horn Book"'s Best Picture Books of 2011
When Pa brings a turkey poult home to fatten for Christmas dinner, he assures Ma that it will be no trouble since it can live in a box by the stove and eat table scraps--and just think of the money we'll save But it's not quite so simple to raise a turkey in a tiny flat in a nineteenth-century New York City tenement. Can Pa and the children manage the willful and growing Alfred and keep the neighbors happy until Christmas? Pa finds a solution for every difficulty--until he encounters one that threatens to ruin Christmas completely. How the family joins together to solve this last difficulty makes for a very funny and satisfying holiday story.
"I thought of myself as something of an explorer, even though my explorations never took me very far. I had a deep and intimate acquaintance with woodlots, creeks, lakes, back streets, and alleys all over the Midwest."
He attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and received a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. After teaching philosophy for several years at the University of Wisconsin, he began writing and illustrating books for children.
"I had always wanted to write, and I loved to draw. I had small children, who were a wonderful audience. Children's books seemed a perfect fit."
His first book, "The King at the Door", was published in 1979. Among his other picture books are "The Winter Wren, The Giant's Toe", and "Alpha and the Dirty Baby".
He now lives in Buffalo, New York, where his wife, Susan, teaches at the State University of New York. His sons both live in Athens, Georgia. Joshua teaches French history at the University of Georgia, and Tobiah is a painter and works as a waiter. Joshua is married to Kate Tremel, a potter and a teacher, and they have a little boy named Lucas.
Brock Cole's acclaimed first novel, "The Goats", was published in 1987. It is set in the Michigan countryside of his childhood and captures the story of two loners' struggle for self-identity and inner strength after being made the targets of a cruel prank. In a Horn Book Magazine editorial, Anita Silvey wrote: ""The Goats "reaffirms my belief that children's literature is alive and thriving." Betsy Hearne, editor of "The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books", lauded "The Goats "as "one of the most important books of the decade."
In Brock Cole's second novel, "Celine", sixteen-year-old Celine, a budding artist, is living with her young stepmother, only six years older than Celine herself, while her father is teaching in Europe. Celine dreams of escaping this situation, but she becomes involved with caring for Jake, her seven-year-old neighbor, who is going through his parents' divorce.
Since he began his writing career, Brock Cole and his wife have traveled a good deal, living for one year in Washington and another in Germany, as well as spending frequent summers in Greece and Turkey.
"To be honest, I simply tag along after Susan. It's her research which takes us all over the place. I enjoy it immensely, though. There's something about sitting down to work at a rickety table in a strange city that clears the head. It's the best thing for a writer, or for this one, anyway."
“When Pa brings home a young turkey to fatten up for Christmas dinner, chaos follows in Cole's picture book tale about a penny-pinching family squeezed into a 19th century New York City tenement.”--Sacramento Bee "...all ends well in this humorous, wholesome story about tightened straits, with its not-too-vinegary perspective on how the other half celebrates." --NYTimes.com “This could easily be incorporated into a class history lesson or simply enjoyed as a unique and humorous holiday story.” --BCCB
“Nothing is sumptuous for the 19th-century tenement-dwelling family at the heart of Brock Cole's endearing picture book ‘The Money We'll Save’ (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 40 pages, $16.99)…With Mr. Cole's watercolor-filled wobbly line drawings, we see the family—and soon their neighbors—struggling to accommodate the growing bird. Not a penny is saved, of course, but in the end the bird offers enrichment of a charmingly different sort.” --Wall Street Journal“Cole’s buoyant watercolors capture the busy chaos and warm homeyness of family life plus turkey in this folksy journey into a different time.” --Booklist “Cole’s blithe illustrations, comfortably crowded with his amusing, expressive characters, set this entertaining holiday story in nineteenth-century New York City.” --Horn Book Magazine, starred review “…a holiday story as humorous as it is touching.” --Publishers Weekly “Cole’s humorous illustrations bring to life the crowded conditions in a 19th-century New York tenement building; the characters are raggedy and poor, but full of spirit and good will.” --School Library Journal
“When Pa brings home a turkey poult to raise for Christmas dinner, hilarious complications ensue in this heartwarming family story set in 19th-century New York City.” --Kirkus Reviews, starred review