The King's Chessboard

Written by David Birch
Illustrated by Devis Grebu

Reviewed by Arihant M. (age 8) and Vincent B. (age 8)

Has anyone ever wanted to do a favor for you and you made a fool out of them because they woudn't take no for an answer? In this book, there is a king and his chessboard. The King wants to pay the wise man back for all he has done for him. The King would not take no for an answer. So, the wise man finally said that he wants rice to be delivered to him every day for 84 days. Each day, the king puts one grain of rice on every square of his chessboard. So does the wise man. The characters are: the king, the queen, a weigher, a wise man, a grand superintendent, and a few groups of happy people. This book takes place in what is now India. It is very funny. Here is one of the funny things: The wise man gets the rice delivered to him, but this gets so out of hand that the wise man ends up with too much rice. For example, 549, 755,830,887 tons of rice was delivered one day. What a crazy amount of rice! One grain of rice became two. Then, two grains became four and grains became ounces. Ounces became pounds. Pounds became tons. Thirty two elephants had to carry the extra sacks of rice away from the king's castle.

The people in this book wore funny clothes. Their clothes were so big that they looked like costumes. A lesson in this book is to never let any job or chore get too out of hand.

I, (Vincent) wonder why the wise man had to choose rice for the king to give him as a reward. He could have chosen anything he wanted, but instead, his greatest reward was to fool the King! I think this book is funny because the wise man feeds the leftover rice to the poor and animals. First to a bird, then to a beggar. In my (Arihant's) opinion, this book is funny too because the King gave too much rice to the wise man to put on his chessboard. The rice kept coming and coming and coming. I (Vincent) also think this book is funny because of all the deception and treason that the King thought occurred. I (Arihant) think a funny part is when all the people were happy to see all the rice being delivered. The people thought it was very humorous.

We recommend this book to people who enjoy chess. You will like this book if you like funny things. It is so hilarious. You won't stop laughing! People who eat a lot of rice would like this book, but be careful, you might get hungry in the middle of the story! This book is so hilarious that you won't stop laughing from cover to cover.

Arihant M. and Vincent B. are students in Class C122
2002-2003