The Warlord’s Messengers
Virginia Walton Pilegard
Illustrations by Nicolas Debon
Picture Book (Series)
Ages 6 to 8
Pelican Publishing, 2005, 978-1-58980-271-1
A messenger from the emperor has arrived at the palace of the warlord. He bears a scroll in which the Emperor says that the warlord must attend a banquet and he has to be at the emperor’s city in just fourteen days. This is going to be very problematic for the warlord is away at the moment. It will take three days to reach him at his camp and then a further thirteen days to get to the emperor’s city. The warlord will arrive two days late and that would be “a grave dishonor.”
The warlord’s steward is very distressed by the situation. What can be done to make sure that the warlord reaches the emperor’s city on time? The steward’s son Chuan and Chuan’s friend Jing Jing put their heads together to try to find a solution to the problem. Jing Jing tells Chuan how people use boats to travel fast on rivers, boats which are driven forward by the power of the wind. If only they could use that same power to travel over the land.
Thankfully for the steward and the warlord, Chuan and Jing Jing are two very clever children. Using their wits and the inventive abilities, they create a vehicle which will carry the warlord to the banquet so that he is not late and not dishonored.
In this very special picture book readers will discover that the Chinese, in addition to inventing kites, the abacus, the printing press, and so much more, also invented land sailing. Sixteenth century westerners were amazed to see Chinese sailing carriages traveling at unheard of speeds of thirty to forty miles an hour.
Nicolas Debon’s earth tone illustrations are perfectly matched with this unique story.
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