The Warlord's Beads


Clever Chuan devises a simple way for his father to quickly and accurately count all the warlord�s treasure.

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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Clever Chuan devises a simple way for his father to quickly and accurately count all the warlord�s treasure.

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.

Read More Show Less

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: 1,438,176
  • 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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