By: Trudy Harris
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: August 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 8, 2012
King Balbazar’s kingdom didn’t so much as have a lightbulb and naturally there weren’t any computers lying around. There “were no yardsticks or rulers in those days” and when the queen asked her seamstress to make some drapes that were “ten spoons long,” she was in for a big surprise. The seamstress worked diligently as she measured out the length with her mixing spoon from a bolt of cloth. Clip, clip and a little sewing and she had drapes ... that came down the wall and all across the floor. The queen’s eyes widened at the sight of those oh-too-long drapes. Oh, my!
The drapes were certainly a dud, but surely King Balbazar’s tailors could make him a robe. “Tailors snipped and mended, / stitching day and night. / And even though they struggled / the fit was never right.” Yes, it ‘twas a wee bit short. There were problems all over the kingdom. Measuring with spoons, candles, and sausages made things go awry. What could be done? Ah, King Balbazar thought, they could have a contest. The person who could solve the riddle and find a treasure would win Princess Star’s hand in marriage. Princess Star began to yell, “My hand? NO WAY!” Just who was going to try to solve the problem and win the princess’s hand (maybe)?
This is an humorous little story in rhyme that will teach children about the concept of measurement. King Balbazar’s dilemma teaches young children the pre-math concept of measurement, something his subjects just couldn’t seem to master. Without a concrete, consistent way of using measuring tools, nothing came out right in his kingdom nor anything will come out right in ours. Children will laugh as they see a carpenter trying to measure with sausages and the result of his work. The illustrations are bright, peppy, and have a perfect goofy-like appeal that meshes perfectly with the tale. In the back of the book is a “Foot Note” discussing the history of the “foot” measurement. This is a perfect read and discuss tale for circle and story time!
Quill says: If you are interested in teaching pre-math concepts in a preschool or kindergarten setting, this humorous tale is the perfect place to start!