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Reviewed by Charles Ashbacher for Readers' Favorite
In The Greatest Game on Earth, author Tammy Johnston and illustrator Janice Blaine follow two tracks, relating one to the other. In the first track, they describe ecosystems and how interdependent the various living components are. For example, a tree provides a home for birds that eat insects that damage the tree. The tree provides fruit and nuts as food for the animals that eat them as well as spread the seeds around so that new trees can be grow. The second track relates the ecological interdependence to financial structures, where money is the food that feeds and nurtures all entities. It is used to purchase the necessities of life and is received for performing acts of useful work.
Colonies of spider monkeys and herds of giraffes and the roles that individuals in the groups play are used as a lead-in to the role a person that manages their money effectively plays in a local economy. Solitary owls and the role they play in keeping the population of rodents in check are equated to people that own and run their own small businesses, doing the smaller jobs in the economy. The explanations of the various roles within ecological systems are longer than the sections that equate them to financial structures, so the young reader will learn more about biology than they will about economics. Some of the analogies are a bit of a stretch, but nothing that is beyond the reasonable, particularly for young readers.
In summary, while this book teaches more ecology than it does financial systems, there is enough to warrant the title and the biological analogies help the reader understand the role that a responsible human plays in their economic ecosystem.