New book teaches children ABCs of Buffet

May 12 [Sun], 2013, 20:45
By Jonathan Stempel

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc invests in dozens of businesses, and a new book tries to explain it all to young readers, from A to Z.

Two Omaha residents, author Nancy Rips and illustrator Tom Kerr, have teamed up on "My First Berkshire ABC" to teach children about one of the world's best-known companies, and a little about the local billionaire behind it.

More than 1,000 copies were sold at Berkshire's annual meeting on Saturday, which draws thousands of people to Omaha, and where Buffett has a say on what gets sold.

"You need something to bring home to your kids and grandkids to explain Berkshire," Rips, who has also written three books about Jewish holidays, said in a joint interview with Kerr.

Most pages show companies that Berkshire owns or invests in.

G, for example, is for "Geico," and features the car insurer's talking gecko. And W is for "Wells Fargo", and features the bank's familiar stagecoach.

The book's theme changed at Buffett's suggestion.

"Our first effort was things like, S is for sharing. Mr. Buffett believes in sharing. K is for being kind,'" Rips said.

"I got an email back from Warren saying, it's too laudatory, they will lampoon him in the news," she continued. "And I wrote a whole new proposal: A is for Acme (Brick), B is for Borsheim's (jewelry), C is for Clayton Homes, D is for Dairy Queen. I got an email back: You're in the show.'"

Kerr has worked at many newspapers and drew McGruff, the Crime Dog for the National Crime Prevention Council.

"Part of what Warren talks about is investing in things that you know," he said. "Virtually everything in here is something that somebody can relate to and touch and understand."

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger is shown under "Q," stamping boxes of "quality" merchandise.

Rips and Kerr have not heard from Buffett on whether he likes the book. Buffett's assistant Carrie Sova had no comment on that question.

Kerr depicted Buffett just four times, including on the cover holding his usual Cherry Coke.

"This book is not all about Warren Buffett," Kerr said. "I picked my spots. He's so synonymous with Dairy Queen that I wanted him there, and obviously on the cover with Coca-Cola."

"Cherry Coke," Rips interjected.

"Yep," Kerr said. "She had me change that."

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Vicki Allen)



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