The King and the Seed

The King and the Seed

by Eric Maddern, Paul Hess
     
 

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Old King Karnak is worried. He doesn’t have long to live, and there is no heir to the throne. To find one, the King holds an unusual competition. Knights and lords flock to the palace and the King gives each of them a tiny seed to grow. Watching the competition is Jack, the farmer's son. Jack gets his hands on a seed, plants it, waters it, and waits for it

Overview


Old King Karnak is worried. He doesn’t have long to live, and there is no heir to the throne. To find one, the King holds an unusual competition. Knights and lords flock to the palace and the King gives each of them a tiny seed to grow. Watching the competition is Jack, the farmer's son. Jack gets his hands on a seed, plants it, waters it, and waits for it to sprout . . . This lively retelling of a traditional Chinese folk tale, enlivened with droll text and stylish illustrations, carries a down-to-earth message: Courage and honesty, not wealth or a noble pedigree, are a leader’s most important qualities.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—A European retelling of a Chinese Mandarin story. When a king realizes he is growing old without an heir, he devises a competition to find his successor. Expecting a tournament with sword fighting and horseback riding, the knights and nobles gather in their brilliant raiment with gleaming swords and spirited horses. Jack, the son of a local farmer, comes merely to witness the event. To a surprised gathering, the king distributes seeds: the competition is to see what can be grown from a seed in the following six months. At the end of that time, all are asked to bring what they have grown to be judged by the king. The lords all proudly display lush blooms in pots, but Jack's has nothing but compost. The king reveals that he has played a trick by boiling the seeds before distributing them so that they wouldn't sprout. Only young Jack has been honest and, because of that, he becomes heir to the king. He fills his kingdom with gardens and holds flower shows to encourage natural beauty over sword fighting. The pencil and watercolor illustrations are fabulous—full of color, imagination, and humor. The well-written text tells an appealing story. Pair it with Demi's The Empty Pot (Holt, 1990), which is another version of the story, or with "Jack and the Beanstalk" to contrast and compare what happens when a different boy named Jack plants a seed.—Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME
Kirkus Reviews
In this European version of Demi's The Empty Pot (1990), an aging, childless king tests would-be successors by handing each a seed and telling him to plant it. Populating his illustrations mainly with grumbling, gorgeously clad knights viewed from various off-kilter angles, Hess also tucks in amusing details-and a farmer's lad named Jack, who is just a spectator but gets a seed nonetheless. Despite his best efforts Jack can't make anything grow, but when he reluctantly presents his empty pot, the king commends him for honesty ("I don't know where those knights got their wonderful flowers from, but they weren't from the seeds I gave them. You see, I boiled those seeds for a whole hour before giving them out") and anoints the astonished lad. Jack becomes a nature-loving king who persuades many knights to exchange their swords for garden forks and is last seen posing like the male half of American Gothic. Chuckle-worthy, and with a seed of wisdom at its core. (source note) (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781845079260
Publisher:
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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