The Warlord's Beads

Overview

The Warlord's Beads
By Virginia Pilegard
Illustrated by Nicolas Debon
Flap Copy Reprint

Chuan knew that he was very fortunate to live in the palace of a powerful Chinese warlord. Surrounded by exotic beauty and luxury, the little peasant boy had everything he needed for happiness, but he sensed his honorable father was worried—very worried.
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Overview

The Warlord's Beads
By Virginia Pilegard
Illustrated by Nicolas Debon
Flap Copy Reprint

Chuan knew that he was very fortunate to live in the palace of a powerful Chinese warlord. Surrounded by exotic beauty and luxury, the little peasant boy had everything he needed for happiness, but he sensed his honorable father was worried—very worried.
The generous but impatient warlord trusted only Father to count his many treasures. Shining bronze coins, elegant jade statues, valuable jewels, and spices of all kinds found their way into the counting room for Father to inventory, but with almost constant interruptions, he kept losing his place! When the totals vary each day, the warlord begins to suspect that poor Father is a thief, but Chuan knows better. In this sequel to BookSense 76 favorite, The Warlord's Puzzle, clever Chuan devises a simple way for his father to quickly and accurately count all the treasure the warlord can gather.

(continued on back flap)
(continued from front flap)

Praise for The Warlord's Puzzle

A BookSense '76 Selection!

"This handsome picture book will be useful for encouraging children to play around with geometry at home or in the classroom."
—Booklist

"Richly colored, lively, and dramatic, the artwork is excellent."
—The Times-Picayune
New Orleans, LA

" seamlessly combines fairy tale with geography lesson."
—Patriot-News
Harrisburg, PA

(Author photo here)

Virginia Pilegard has been an elementary-school teacher and has taught and volunteered in juvenile-correction schools. Raised on a cattle ranch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mrs. Pilegard pursued the topic of elementary mathematics and completed an M.A. in education. She is also the author of The Warlord's Puzzle (Pelican, $14.95).

(Illustrator photo here)

Illustrator Nicolas Debon was born in Nancy, France, and now lives in Canada. He has worked in the visual-arts office of the France Ministry of Culture and for the cultural service of the Consulate General of France in Toronto. His first illustrated picture book, The Warlord's Puzzle, debuted at #2 on the BookSense '76 list shortly after publication.

A young Chinese boy helps his father count the warlord's vast treasures by using beads threaded on a branch. Includes a brief history of the abacus and instructions for making one.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Last year, Virginia Walton Pilegard's The Warlord's Puzzle explained the origins of the tangram. Now, detailing a boy's attempts to count the warlord's treasure, she investigates another mathematical invention, the abacus, in The Warlord's Beads, illus. by Nicolas Debon. A historical note traces the tool to 14th-century China; instructions for making your own abacus are included. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Treasures seem to be missing from the Warlord's overflowing counting house. Chuan helps his father count everything to prove that he is not a thief. The count is a huge job including large chests of bronze coins, statues, jewelry and other treasures. All they have to count with are Chuan's fingers and toes. Adding more difficulty to the complicated task, both servants and the warlord's children provide such constant interruptions that Chuan and his father lose count and must start over and over again. Using bits of twig and some of the Warlord's beads, Chuan invents the first abacus. From then on, the counting proceeds quickly and with precision. Because of his ingenuity, they complete the count and prove that Chuan's father is honest and trustworthy. The Warlord is happy and Chuan and his father are not only saved but also rewarded. Debon's distinctive artwork adds to the fairy tale feeling of this story. 2001, Pelican, $14.95. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Chris Gill
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A story set in ancient China. In exchange for warm beds and enough to eat, Chuan's father must inventory all of a warlord's many treasures. He fears that the powerful man will accuse him of stealing because he keeps losing count. Chuan sees that the task is overwhelming and volunteers to help. His father asks him to hold up one finger for every 10 boxes that he counts. When all his fingers are up, Chuan uses his toes to count by hundreds. Eventually he finds 10 switches and places 10 beads on each switch. Now he can keep track of his father's counting by using the beads. A simple abacus is invented. The book ends with a brief history of counting frames and a craft. Hues of beige and brown with rich yellows and blues create a Chinese tapestry, and the figures have a claylike stature. This book will be helpful to children learning how to count, add, and subtract and is a good choice for most collections.-Karen Land, Greenport Public School, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The clever fisherman's son who solved The Warlord's Puzzle (not reviewed) returns to get his father out of a pickle-inventing one of the most widely used accounting tools in the process. Tallying the warlord's treasures might seem a simple enough task-but what with all the distractions at the palace, young Chuan's father keeps coming up with different totals. Considering the warlord's iffy temper, it's a perilous situation, but Chuan saves the day with a device of carved beads strung onto sticks-a forerunner, as Pilegard explains at the end, of the abacus. As in Chuan's earlier triumph, Debon evocatively depicts court dress and decorative details, but tends to exaggerate the facial expressions of his puppet-like figures to the point of caricature. Nor will the author's scanty comments about place notation teach young readers how a true abacus is used. Still, capped with a diagram for a modern version of Chuan's counting frame made of cardboard, pipe cleaners, and o-shaped breakfast cereal, this makes a good, if sketchy, story reminiscent of Stuart Murphy's popular MathStart series. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565548633
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Series: Warlord's Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 697,094
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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 Warlord's Series , he is also the author/illustrator of several other books, including two Canadian Governor General's Literary Award finalists.

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