Title: One Grain of Rice
Genre: Math / India / Folktale / Royalty
Year Published: 1997
Year Read: 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Nothing Objectionable)
I have read many books by world-renowned children’s book author, Demi, but I have not gotten around to reviewing any of Demi’s books yet. “One Grain of Rice” is the first book by Demi that I am reviewing and it is a folktale from India that is about a young woman named Rani who tries to trick the raja of India into giving her more rice than is needed during a famine. “One Grain of Rice” is truly a worthy folktale that will be loads of fun for children!
When Demi stated in the title of this book that this is a clever tale, she was not kidding! Demi has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this clever story that is full of pure wit! What really stood out for me in Demi’s writing was how Demi portrayed the main character Rani as a clever and independent heroine of the story as Rani uses her wits and her talented use of mathematics as a way to teach the raja a lesson he will never forget! I also loved the way that Demi uses mathematics as a major plot device in this book as it helps children learn more about mathematics and Demi made this book even more helpful for children by providing a chart at the back of the book about how Rani doubled each number per day, so you do not have to necessarily use a calculator to work out the formula used by Rani, but you can use a calculator if you want to teach your child about how to work out the problems on their own. Demi’s illustrations are extremely beautiful in this book as she uses watercolor painting to illustrate the characters and the landscapes. My favorite images in this book are of Rani herself as she is a truly beautiful looking character as she wears a gorgeous Indian red dress and has flowing black hair that touches her back. I also enjoyed the images of all the animals that were being used when they were delivering the rice to Rani and the image that truly stood out for me was the image of the elephants bring Rani the rice in baskets as the page is folded out and you can see hundreds of elephants waking across the page.
Overall, “One Grain of Rice” is a truly wonderful and clever folktale for children who love folktales from India and want to learn about mathematics in a creative way! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the mathematical approach in this story might be too difficult for smaller children to understand.