Children's Literature - Beverley FaheyImagine having to measure yardage for drapes using spoons, or a door height with sausages. That is what the unfortunate subjects in King Balbazar's kingdom must do because there is no standard of measurement. The King issues a proclamation offering his daughter's hand in marriage to the one who can solve the problem. From far and wide young men come measuring with "walnuts and broomsticks, swords and sickles." Nothing works until a simple and poor man named Arzo uses the only tool he has...his foot. Thus is born the standard used today using a stick named to honor the king, the ruler. Told in light verse this clever tale is enjoyable for story time and is ideal as an introduction to measurement in primary grades. The bright illustrations with the round-faced rolly-poly king and his subjects bring the right measure of humor to the story. Sharpe-eyed readers will catch glimpses of Arzo on his journey to the castle to lend his hand or in this case foot to solve the problem. If there is a flaw it is the intrusive dialogue bubbles that get in the way of the smooth flow of the verse.
The Royal Treasure Measureby Trudy Harris, Ivica Stevanovic
School Library JournalK-Gr 2—Long ago, in a kingdom far away, the people were plagued by the lack of a standard measure. They used spoons and sausages and candles to quantify the length of objects. As a result, drapes were too long, robes were too short, and roofs did not properly cover houses. King Balbazar was at his wit's end so he decided to hold a contest. The one who could devise a sensible unit of measurement would become king and win the hand of the princess. Men came from far and near with all kinds of ideas, but it was a simple man named Arzo who-for lack of anything else-used his feet. He became king, and the official unit of measurement became the size of his foot. This clever account, told in rhyme, alludes to the basis for most of today's standard measurement: the human body. Youngsters will enjoy the failed attempts of using walnuts, swords, rowboats, goats, and even pickles to measure distance. The exaggerated, colorful cartoon illustrations are humorous and appealing. Fans of the author's other math concept books will be delighted with this offering, too.—Debbie Lewis, Alachua County Library District, FL
Kirkus ReviewsA clever princess and a simple man solve a measurement problem and find true love in this fairy-tale–like math story. When King Balbazar and his subjects have trouble making doors and drapes and robes fit, the king decides to hold a contest to find a standard unit of measurement, a husband for his daughter and his successor--he wants to retire. Princess Star judges the contest, dressed as a peasant, her basket hiding a crown for the winner. But things look glum when the men begin measuring with nuts, swords (of different sizes), goats and even pickles. It takes a simple man with no belongings--and no shoes--to come up with the foot as a unit of measure. And the rest is history…although an author's "foot note" explains what is really known about the origins of a foot. Harris' ABCB rhyming verses have a nice rhythm to them and some interesting pairings--sickles with pickles. But the speech-bubble asides that are integral to the tale do not rhyme, and this detracts from the flow of the text. Stevanovic's cartoonish illustrations are filled with detail, but his characters steal the show, their pointy and/or pendulous noses and appendages lending each a distinct personality. Though it is regrettable that in neither story nor note is the metric system, the international standard, mentioned, still, save about half an inch (or roughly 1 cm) on your shelves for this one. (Math picture book. 4-8)
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