Archive for the ‘Folklore and Literature’ Category

Review of One Grain of Rice, by Demi

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

One Grain of Rice

A Mathematical Folktale

by Demi

Scholastic Press, 1997. 36 pages.
Review written May 7, 2021, from a library book
Starred Review
Mathical Hall of Fame

One Grain of Rice was recently chosen for the Mathical Books Hall of Fame, so I thought I should catch up – I missed this one when it was published. Yes, I’ve heard the tale in different versions, so I knew what to expect: a lowly person outwitting an autocrat with the power of exponential growth, asking for one grain of rice the first day, twice as much the next day, and doubling each day for thirty days.

This version has Demi’s exquisite artwork. The lowly person in this story is a clever peasant girl named Rani who devises a plan to feed hungry people. I also like the way the tyrant hoarding rice reforms and everybody’s happy at the end. It’s a picture book, after all.

As for the math – there’s a chart at the back that shows how many grains of rice Rani gets on each of the thirty days, so kids can see the exponential growth. I like the way the story doesn’t pretend that someone counts out each grain (couldn’t be done in a day!), but shows progressively bigger baskets transporting the rice. On the final day, two hundred and fifty-six elephants show up on a giant fold-out page bringing the contents of four royal storehouses.

I’m afraid during a pandemic is an especially good time for kids to have a basic understanding of how exponential growth works. It starts out very small, but can grow to very big if you keep on doubling. This classic book makes the ideas memorable, understandable, and beautiful.

scholastic.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/one_grain_of_rice.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Dark Hedges, Wizard Island, and Other Magical Places That Really Exist, by L. Rader Crandall

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Dark Hedges, Wizard Island, and Other Magical Places That Really Exist

by L. Rader Crandall

Running Press Kids (Hachette), Philadephia, 2020. 122 pages.
Review written October 3, 2020, from a library book

What a fun idea! This book tells about thirty-seven places in the world that have legends about them. The author tells the legends as if they actually happened, and who’s to say they didn’t? With each place, there’s at least one photograph.

I was hooked because the book begins with the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, one of my favorite places I ever visited during ten years living in Europe. I’ve only been to four of the other places, but it certainly expanded my list of places I’d like to go.

Here’s an excerpt from the author’s note to the reader at the front of the book:

Take a stroll among the shelves of your local bookshop, search your favorite websites, or download the latest app and you’re bound to discover a trove of helpful travel guides. They will lead you to the finest hotels, tell you which dishes to order in restaurants far and wide, and explain which shops sell the most authentic souvenirs. You’ll find lists of museums acclaimed for their exhibits, maps of city blocks renowned for their architecture, and suggestions of venues famous for their concerts and sports matches. They are all very useful, ideal for the practical traveler.

This is not that sort of book.

Herein lies a guide to our world for fans of the fantastic. On these pages, you’ll find places that seem the stuff of dreams – a remote island where dragons roam, distant shores where giants have battled, ancient castles enchanted by fairies – but that are, in fact, very real. They are places you can actually travel to, destinations you can explore, if only you know the way. Many are steeped in myths and legends from long ago that have been passed down over the centuries, while others have histories more fascinating than fairy tales.

This book may be responsible for giving imaginative kids the travel bug.

runningpress.com/rpkids

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/dark_hedges.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?