Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented

Tanya Lee Stone, illus. by Steven Salerno. Holt/Ottaviano, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62779-168-7
Stone (Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream) summarizes the sometimes contentious history of the ever-popular board game Monopoly. Lizzie Magie Phillips developed and patented its precursor, the Landlord’s Game, in 1903 to focus attention on rising urban rents charged by monopolistic landlords. A brisk narrative pace propels the story through fact-filled and sometimes lengthy passages, explaining how players modified rules and created homemade versions of the freely shared game. When out-of-work salesman Charles Darrow marketed and sold his version, controversy ensued. Salerno’s (Wild Child) lively, mixed-media illustrations carry the action forward. Large Monopoly tokens leap from colorful spreads as turn-of-the-century period dress, close-ups, and caricatures bring the story playfully to life (Darrow, oft-credited as the game’s inventor, is shown speeding off in the roadster game token, Monopoly money flying from the car). Backmatter includes a list of trivia (for example: online voting in 2017 retired some tokens and added others, such as a T. rex token), a Monopoly math section, and an author note and source list. Monopoly aficionados should most appreciate this account that gives credit where credit is due and asks readers to ultimately weigh in: “So who wins in this story?” Ages 5–9. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 07/17/2018
Genre: Children's
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