The Warlord's Puzzle
Virginia Walton Pilegard
Illustrations by Nicolas Debon
Picture Book (Series)
Ages 6 to 8
Pelican Publishing, 2000, 1-56554-495-1
Once there lived a powerful warlord who lived in China. An artist brought the warlord a beautiful piece of blue tile as a gift but then a terrible thing happened - the artist dropped the tile and it broke into seven pieces. No matter how much he tried, the artist could not put the tile back together again.
To try to appease the warlord's anger (and the great man was very angry indeed) the artist suggested that the warlord hold a contest to see if someone could be found who could put the tile back together.
A huge line of people soon formed outside the warlord's palace and in this line there were all sorts of people including a monk, a scholar, and a the end of the line, a fisherman and his little son. There was no reason why these two should not also try their luck.
One person after another failed to put the tile back together until it came to be the turn of the fisherman and his son. By this time the warlord was furious and as he shouted and berated the people around him, the fisherman's son began to work, and to put together the precious blue tile.
This extremely clever story is based on an ancient tale which describes how the first tangram (for that is what the tile becomes when it is broken) was made in China during the Tang dynasty. These deceptively easy looking puzzles have intrigued people for hundreds of years and this story is sure to absorb readers of all ages. The author includes a pattern of a tangram in the back of the book which the reader can trace, cut up, and try to put back together again. It is sure to provide hours of entertainment and amusement.
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