The Money We’ll Save by Brock Cole
When Ma is forced to send Pa to the store for eggs and flour, she warns him to just buy those two items. But Pa is talked into purchasing a turkey poult at the market because of the money he’ll save. They plan on having the turkey for Christmas dinner after feeding it on scraps and letting it live in a box by the stove. But their nineteenth century apartment was definitely not designed to raise poultry. Alfred, the turkey, grew and grew and soon started to eat much more than table scraps. The family started to get creative with where they could house Alfred but there wasn’t much they could do with the limited space. As Christmas neared, the mess and stink of a turkey was getting to be too much. Though he may be messy, the children started to love Alfred. What happened when Alfred became more of a pet than a meal?
The setting here is brilliantly done. The depiction of the tenement building, the attitudes of the hard-working family, and the frugality of their family life all are vividly depicted. The 19th century time period works well for a Christmas story, one that focuses more on family than on expense and presents. This is an old-fashioned Christmas tale with lots of heart and character.
Cole’s art also captures the day-to-day life of this family. The clothes and home immediately let readers know that they are not reading about today. The illustrations are a jumble of family life, turkey mess, and a small space packed with furniture. The illustrations have a real heart to them, filled with familial love and busyness.
Highly recommended, this book is a great one to add to Christmas traditions. It is sure to have smiles beaming from all ages and will inspire the sharing of your family’s holiday memories. Add this one to Christmas story times too as a break from Santa Claus and presents. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.