ONE GRAIN OF RICE
New York : Scholastic, 1997
IL K-3, RL 4.2
Grain of Rice by Demi, is categorized as a "mathematical folktale",
that not only provides a memorable instruction on multiplication, but also
ties in a moral lesson. The Story takes place in an Indian Village,
in which the Raja (king) declares that all the villagers must turn over
nearly all the rice that they grow. The rice would be locked away in a
storehouse to save for a time of famine. After some years, famine struck,
and the king fell short on his promise.
The hero of the store Rani proves herself to be both honest, and courageous winning the favor of the Raja. As a reward, the Raja informed the young Rani, that he would grant her one wish. She requested one grain of Rice, and double the amount for the next 30 days. Although he thought her request to be naive it was a witty act that saves the villagers, and even the Raja.
I truly enjoyed this book because it speaks to the universality of greed, honesty, and forgiveness. The people of the village were loyal to the Raja's decree, laboring, working, and having very little for themselves. Although an old folktale, it's topic is relevant to any part of the world in which people have been mistreated by their leaders. In present day societies around the world the rice could be symbolic of currency, or taxes that go toward retirement. Those who labor, do so with the hope that the leader(s) will honor their word. (La Shon Mitchell, college student,
Folklore -- India.
Mathematics -- Folklore.