Pull up a Chair, It’s a Saturday Book Share: Spending Spree

Saturday Book ShareI am happy to participate in this meme, recently started by the Styling Librarian:-)

I am always on the lookout for non-series informational texts that will interest and engage students. Spending Spree: The History of American Shopping by Cynthia Overbeck Bix is a book that definitely fits the bill. Bix gives a thorough account of one of our favorite past-time– from the roving peddlers of early America to the online marketplaces of today. Generously captioned pictures, intriguing sidebars, and well-chosen quotes accompany the organized and appealing text.

spending spreeHere are some neat things I learned from Spending Spree:

1. The first cash register was invented by a saloonkeeper in 1879, and it was called Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier. Now THAT is a fabulous name for a cash register.

2. The first ever chain store, opening in 1859, was a grocery store called the A&P. My dad worked at one in Chicago when he was a teenager, and he has a great story about a woman trying to steal a whole ham by hiding it under her skirt. But I digress.

3. Target has been around since 1962!?!

4. The first indoor mall opened in Minneapolis in 1956 and featured waterfalls and live plants. I though that fancy malls were a newer thing.

5. You could fit SEVEN Yankee Stadiums inside the Mall of America. And they are planning to make it even BIGGER!

Librarians always look for standard text features  and proof of scholarly research when reviewing informational texts. Spending Spree includes an impressive amount of source notes, a thorough and detailed index, and a selected bibliography  and suggestions for additional information which include not only books, articles, and websites but also NPR broadcasts, online videos, and a publisher website that provides updated complementary educational resources.

Spending Spree is definitely on my short list of titles to purchase for my middle school library. And I will be sure to include it in my booktalks the next time a class visits to find informational texts.


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