Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: Arthur’s Pet Business

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Arthur’s Pet Business, written and illustrated by Marc Brown, is an interesting and fun book that teaches about responsibility and about earning money.  Arthur needs to show his parents that he is responsible enough to own a puppy.  He decides to start a pet sitting business.  When people start calling his number off the fliers he posted around town, Arthur gets very busy taking care of several different animals.  He has no time to play.  Arthur’s biggest responsibility is Perky, a moody dog, that stays with Arthur for a week while the owner is out of town.  In the end, Arthur earns $10 and a new puppy.

Children will see the value of working hard for what they want.  They will also see that taking care of pets requires hard work.  After reading this book, children should be encouraged to think of jobs they can do to earn money.  This book can also lead into discussions about spending and saving.  Young entrepreneurs everywhere will want to start a profitable business just like Arthur.

Curriculum Connections
This book can easily be used to begin economics discussions in grades K-5th.  The students will see people work to earn money (K.7b), the difference between goods and services (1.7), and making choices (1.8).  Using Arthur as an example, students can be encouraged to make their own business plans with consideration of resources available (2.9) and the use of barter versus money (2.8).  The students can make a plan for how they will save up for something they want (1.9).

Additional Resources

  • Click on this website for handouts to reinforce economic terms such as goods, services, needs, and wants.
  • For a great economics field trip, go to the Children’s Museum of Richmond.  Economics activities include the grocery store center, the bank, and participation in a mock market activity if arranged ahead of time for your group.  The website is nicely arranged to show which VA SOLs can be covered during your trip.
  • Consider this lesson plan on profit using Arthur’s Pet Business or use these catchy economics songs for vocabulary reinforcement.

Book:  Arthur’s Pet Business
Author:  Marc Brown
Illustrator:  Marc Brown
Publisher:  Little, Brown, and Company
Publication Date:  1990
Pages:  30
Grade Range:  K-5th
ISBN:  0-316-11316-6