Book Review: Three CupsTitle: Three Cups
Author: Mark St. German

A few months ago, I started giving Jake an allowance instead of rewarding him with a new toy when he got all his smiley faces on his responsibility chart. Ever since then, he’s been really interested in the ins and outs of the financial industry, or at least as it pertains to him. He’s slowly learning that $100 isn’t enough to buy a house, and $1,000 doesn’t buy “the entire planet Earth!” I’ve been looking for a way to teach him more about spending and saving, so when I saw this book under Tomoson’s review opps, I requested it.

Three Cups is written for children ages 4 through 12 and explains the concept of saving, spending, and donating to charity through the use of a three-cup system. The author achieves this by explaining the system through a story about a boy who receives his first allowance, along with instructions from his parents on how to divide it among the three cups. His parents promise him that this is the start of many great adventures.

Jacob enjoyed this book because it talks about how to save and spend money, two of his favorite things. He took away a great message about saving up for something he really wants. He’s been saving for weeks for the Wii UDraw, and today he finally had enough (he even saved some of his birthday money). I liked it because it explained everything in a context that a child could understand, and it also talks about the benefits of giving to charity. This is something Jake still needs to work on. He did donate a lot of quarters when his class had a drive to help Japan, and the fact that his parents once lived there for a couple of years, so he saw how much it affected me, really helped motivate him. But I don’t think he understands exactly what charity really means, and Three Cups helped drive that point home without being overly preachy. I also really liked the illustrations, which reminded me of a cozy cup of hot cocoa for some reason. Maybe it was all the rich, chocolatey browns that the illustrator used.

The overall message of the three cup system was definitely well received by Jake. Immediately after finishing, he asked if we could make three cups for his allowance and money. While the characters in the story use mugs for their system, Jake has always been a creative type and wants to design his own, so we’re going to work on that soon. If you’re looking for an easy and charming way to explain the concept of money to your child, I recommend picking up a copy of Three Cups. You can purchase it from or on Amazon.


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