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The Warlord's Puppeteers

The Warlord's Puppeteers

by Virginia Pilegard

Chuan helps readers learn about ratios to craft puppets.


Chuan helps readers learn about ratios to craft puppets.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Virginia Walton Pilegard's fourth book in the Warlord series, The Warlord's Puppeteers, illus. by Nicolas Debon, young Chuan and his artist mentor befriend a group of puppeteers. When bandits steal their trove of puppets, it seems that they will be ruined. But with some ingenuity and a lesson in Chinese artistic proportions, Chuan manages to help the puppeteers create new puppets. Debon's rough and textured illustrations almost make the characters look like they are "made from the finest camphor wood," like the puppets themselves. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-This title, the fourth in the series, evokes the atmosphere of a trading caravan from China's Tang dynasty. Young Chuan, apprenticed to an artist, meets a family of traveling puppeteers as they journey together along a treacherous mountain trail. When they are attacked by bandits, the puppeteers are left without their means of support, so Chuan fashions a puppet head from a melon. The puppet master appreciates his work, but he says that the head is too large. He explains that Chinese puppets should be about two feet tall, and that "The ratio of the head to the body must be one to six." A graduated diagram of the puppet's proportions clearly indicates the acceptable ratio. Chuan then makes a figure from a radish, with stick limbs. Soon the boy and the artist make other puppets, and other caravan travelers donate fabric to clothe them. When the group reaches a town, the puppeteers put on a performance and Chuan encounters his warlord, who offers his protection for the remainder of the journey. The impressionist-style paintings in muted tones perfectly complement the text. The messages of friendship, cooperation, and creativity, as well as the math lesson, make this book a good choice for group sharing and individual enjoyment.-Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, Waterford, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The ingenious young hero of Warlord's Fish (2002) and two earlier exploits again triumphs while taking in a bit of math. When bandits carry off an itinerant troupe's chest of marionettes, Chuan creates new puppets from scraps of cloth and carved vegetables. As in previous meetings, Pilegard tucks in both cultural and mathematical snippets; Chuan's artist-master informs him that proper proportion of head to body in Chinese art is 1:6, and in a final add-on, the author invites readers to make, then measure, sock puppets of their own. The square-headed human figures in Debon's whimsical illustrations resemble the vegetable ones; readers will appreciate the humor, though the quickly told story definitely takes second place to the imbedded lesson. The exotic setting makes this an appealing alternative to Stuart Murphy's MathStart series. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
Warlord's Series , #4
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Virginia Walton Pilegard wrote The Warlord's Puzzle as part of a teaching unit that uses informal geometry to strengthen students' visual learning abilities. Mrs. Pilegard studied elementary mathematics and completed both a B.A. and M.A. in Education. She then went on to teach elementary grades and in juvenile correction schools.

Nicolas Debon is a freelance illustrator in Versailles, France. In addition to his illustrations for the Warlordís Series , he is also the author/illustrator of several other books, including two Canadian Governor Generalís Literary Award finalists.

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