King Balbazar's kingdom has made a mess of measuring. Curtains are too long, robes are too short, and no one knows how to solve the problem. People measure length with everything from candlesticks to sausages to spoons. Finally, King Balbazar holds a contest. Who will come up with the winning unit of measurement—and what will it be?
"A 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 the metric system, the international standard, is mentioned, still, save about half an inch (or roughly 1 cm) on your shelves for this one. (Math picture book. 4-8)" --Kirkus Reviews—Journal
"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." —School Library Journal—Journal
Trudy Harris writes books that both educate and entertain. She has written a number of successful math concept books, including: Pattern Bugs, 20 Hungry Piggies, Jenny Found a Penny, The Clock Struck One, and Tally Cat Keeps Track. Trudy loves reading picture books to her grandchildren and to her students at Temple View Elementary in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Ivica Stevanovic has illustrated numerous picture books, as well as book covers and graphic novels. He lives in Veternik, Serbia, with his wife, who is also a children's illustrator, and their daughter.