One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale

by Demi

Hardcover, 1997



Local notes

398.2 Dem



Scholastic Press (1997), Edition: 0, Hardcover, 40 pages


A reward of one grain of rice doubles day by day into millions of grains of rice when a selfish raja is outwitted by a clever village girl.

Physical description

40 p.; 10.2 inches


059093998X / 9780590939980



User reviews

LibraryThing member amberntaylor
The raja makes all the people of the land give him almost all their rice and does not share any of it. When the people become hungry from no food, a wonderful thing happens. A small girl, Rani, gets rewarded by the raja for doing a good deed. All she ask is for one grain of rice and that he doubles it every day for thirty days. Surprisingly, by the end of thirty days, Rani receives all the rice that the raja had kept from the village people. Rani has a kind heart and give some of the rice back to the raja after making him promise to only take as much rice as needed.

I thought this would be a fun book for third, fourth and fifth graders. It has a good plot and a nice little mathematical surprise in it. It makes you root for little Rani at the end.

You could bring some rice and have the children solve the problem on their own, but just to day five so it's not such a big number of rice. They could glue the rice on paper in groups of what number day it is. Or You could have them come up with their own mathematical problem and have another child in class solve it.
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LibraryThing member emilee
good for showing how numbers add up when we multiply them
LibraryThing member djmeyers
I loved the concept of how one grain of rice when doubled over a month's time can grow so large. It was also a great tale demonstrating the importance of keeping your word. The Raja goes back on his word to the people, but does keep his word to the young girl by rewarding her with a double portion of rice each day. In the end he realizes his lack of wisdom and turns back to being the leader the people had once loved and respected. The young girl saves the day and gives all the starving people the rice she had been rewarded.… (more)
LibraryThing member alliek710
This is a smart yet tricky folktale. It incorporates Indian tradition (through the illustrations) and also math, which is good for kids to learn through different activities.
LibraryThing member kateweber
Tells the tale of Rani, and Indian girl, who uses her mathematical smarts to right the wrongs of a greedy raja. The raja has been taxing the rice crops of his people heavily for years in preparation for a famine. However, when the famine comes, he decides to keep it all for himself. Rani returns some rice that has fallen from an elephant and in return asks for a reward that seems small at first. She'll receive rice every day for a month - each day she'll get double what she received the day before, starting with one grain of rice. The raja doesn't realize that this will actually transfer all of his stores of rice to her and the people. When that happens, he becomes learns his lesson and becomes a fair raja once again.… (more)
LibraryThing member ffox
A clever story decorated in a traditional Indian style. I like the seeming lack of conflict, even when the Raja is wrong the people use their patience and wits to outlast him. And in the end he sees the error of his ways and agrees to be good from then on.
LibraryThing member emgalford
Demi. (1997). One grain of rice. New York: Scholastic Press.

In Demi’s mathematical folktale One Grain of Rice, a clever little girl named Rani is faced with the task of saving her Indian village. She successfully saves her village from a selfish raja. As a reward for her good deed, Rani asks only for one grain of rice, doubled each day for thirty days. At the end of the thirty days, the smart Rani has enough rice to feed her entire village for a long time. The greedy raja learns a lesson, and Rani saves her village from starvation. This story is an Indian folktale, so people of many different times and places can appreciate it. It offers a glimpse into the culture and values of India with a timeless story that teaches a good lesson.

This book would be excellent to use with elementary school students when learning about math. Throughout the story, math is used to demonstrate how much rice the little girl is receiving. This can be used by a classroom teacher to demonstrate the different uses of math in the real world and how it can relate to other cultures. This story can also be used when learning about folktales. An elementary school librarian can create a unit using multicultural folktales from around the world. This would be an excellent story to include in the unit.
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LibraryThing member msampsel
One Grain of Rice is a mathematical folktale that tells the story of a greedy ruler who takes everyone's rice. A girl saves a portion of his rice, and requests to be given one grain of rice on the first day, 2 on the second, etc. until thirty days are up. The ruler is surprised when he has no rice left.
LibraryThing member GayWard
A reward of one grain of rice doubles day by day into millions of grains of rice when a selfish raja is outwitted by a clever village girl.
LibraryThing member Kathdavis54
I love any picture book by Demi. The pictures are lovely and make the book shine. The story is an old folktale about selfishness. A good story told alongside awesome pictures.
LibraryThing member Rita6
This Mathematical Folktale explains the importance of being responsible. It also sends a message about sharing and caring for one another. Teachers would not only be able to use this book for mathematical reasons, but also to reiterate why accountability is imperative and “with great power comes great responsibility.”
LibraryThing member mrcmyoung
A tale about a clever girl who wins the town's rice back by making a deal with the greedy emperor: she will start with one grain of rice and then ask for double each day. This sounds easy enough to the emperor when one turns to two and two to four, but any pre-algebra student should be able to tell him that it won't be long before he gives back a lot of rice.… (more)
LibraryThing member byrons
Excellent book for Indian children to learn about sharing, how to be just and merciful.
LibraryThing member sderby
A girl teaches a raja an important lesson about the needs of his people by tricking him into giving up all of the rice he has withheld from his starving subjects. Explores the concept of exponents.
LibraryThing member theCajunLibrarian
Demi uses interesting art techniques to create the original illustrations in this book and gives a valuable lesson of generosity. This book can also be incorporated in a math lesson focusing on exponential growth.
LibraryThing member alexa.kirk
This is a fantastic book that generously introduces the mathematical concept of doubling. Rani demonstrates great cleverness and selflessness, she shared with everyone, even the selfish raja to better the village in the present and the future. This emphasizes how quickly things grow when they are doubled.
LibraryThing member LydiaBree
A raja in India thought himself to be 'wise and fair.' He stored the excess rice grown by farmers in his province for several years--if there was a famine there would be food for all. Eventually there was a famine, but the raja did not keep his word, he kept all of the rice for his own personal needs. When an basket bound for a feast at the palace began to leak rice carried from the storehouse, a girl named Rani collected the falling rice in her skirt. She took the rice to the raja. To reward her he told her, 'Ask me for anything...' She asked for a single grain of rice that would be doubled the next day, and then that quantity doubled the next day...and so on for 30 days. At first the raja thought she was foolish to ask for so little, but in the end her request depleted his storehouses. When asked what she would do with the rice she replied,'I shall give it to all the hungry people...' The raja realized his greediness and from that day forward 'was truly wise and fair, as a raja should be.'… (more)
LibraryThing member pamela12286
This story would be great for an upper elementary classroom. At first the children will think that the girl was not smart to ask for so little but will see just how wise she was. It would be a great time to work on doing the math together. The images are very detailed and authentic. They definitely represent the Indian culture.… (more)
LibraryThing member amcnutt
It's the story of Rani, a clever girl who outsmarts a very selfish raja and saves her village. When offered a reward for a good deed, she asks only for one grain of rice, doubled each day for 30 days. That's lots of rice: enough to feed a village for a good long time. This story could be used with grade 1-4 to teach math skills and to introduce the Indian culture. All of the drawings in the book are inspired by India and would be a great way to show what their culture is like.… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
A clever mathematical folktale from India, One Grain of Rice follows the story of a selfish Raja who hoards all the rice in his province, endangering the welfare of his people during a time of famine. When an honest young girl does the Raja a service, and he offers her the reward of her choosing, she asks for thirty days of rice: a single grain the first day, double that amount the second, and so on. Such a modest demand, thinks the Raja, who has clearly never heard of exponential growth...

With an enjoyable tale that teaches both a moral and mathematical lesson, and gorgeous illustrations inspired by the Indian miniature painting of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this delightful picture-book is a feast for both mind and eyes. Demi's trademark use of gold ink is very much in evidence here, and her fans will find the effect charming. This is one I originally read around the time of its publication, in the late 1990s, but I thank my goodreads friend Lisa for reminding me of it, and alerting me to the fact that it is just one of many retellings! I look forward to exploring some of the other versions of this tale as well, from David Barry's The Rajah's Rice, to Helena Clare Pittman's A Grain of Rice.
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LibraryThing member rdg301library
A country is ravaged by famine but their king refused to help. One young girl changed his mind and tries to save her land. This book is about rice farming and I love how it adds math into it. This is a great book for any classroom.

Reading Level: Primary
LibraryThing member natalie.loy
This is a great book about a young girl who is granted one wish from the Raja in her community. The community currently is going through a famine and the Raja will not give any of the rice to the people. When a young girl is granted one wish by the Raja she simple asks for a grain of rice and that each day the amount of rice doubles for thirty days. The Raja laughs at such an idea and agrees. At the end of thirty days the amount of rice is so great that it takes two hundred and fifty-six elephants to carry all the bags of rice to the girls house. The girl gives the rice to the community so they are not hungry any more, and the Raja learns a lesson about sharing and being kind to people. A great book for teaching morals, sharing, and math skills.… (more)
LibraryThing member jresner
This folk story tells the tale of a raja who most of the rice that the Indian people grew, and said he was saving it for when they needed it most. But when they went into a famine, the raja did not give them the rice. A young girl from the Indian village noticed that rice was leaking from a basket that was being taken to the raja for a feast of his, and collected the rice in her skirt. She brought it to the raja and he promised her anything she requested as a reward for her good deed. She asked one grain of rice, and for each day for 30 days that he would give her double the rice he had given her the day before. He did as she said, and over time, the amount of rice that the girl was given grew to enormous size. The raja had not expected the doubling to add up to so much, and he ends up with no rice for himself. The girl gives the raja one basket of rice, and tells him he can only have as much rice as he needs from now on. The raja agrees, and he becomes fair and just.… (more)
LibraryThing member laurenbutcher
I enjoyed reading this book very much and I was learning while reading! The main character, Rani, was the bravest of all of the town and outsmarted the raja who was stealing all of the citizen's rice. The big idea for this story is to show readers that through sharing and honesty, much more can be achieved. A part of the story that I enjoyed was when Rani did not give up hope for her community when the raja laughed about how she wanted one grain of rice today, two tomorrow, four the next day. She wanted to double the amount of rice the raja gave her each day so she could have enough for the people in her town. Another quality about this book that I loved was the illustrations. The author, Demi, painted all of the intricate drawings for each page. When there two-hundred and fifty-six elephants carrying all of the rice for Rani, Demi drew them all. Because there were so many elephants carrying rice, the author had to extend the pages to fit them all! I really enjoy when books have unique qualities in them, and this one had many more than just the extended pages for the two hundred elephants.… (more)
LibraryThing member sarahetuemmler
This was such a fun book. It taught the lesson of sharing. It is about a Raja from India who demands that his people give him all the rice they grow in their crops. The Raja he says he will store all the rice for when a famine strikes. A famine does strike, and the Raja does not give the people the rice for he fears that he will not have enough rice for himself. Then a little girl in the palace does a good deed and Raja grants her one wish. Her wish is to to get a one grain of rice for 30 days and each day the grains of rice go up. By the end of her thirty-days she has all of palace's supply of rice. The Raja sticks to his word but begs the little girl for some of his rice back. She agrees but only if the Raja promises to always share the rice supply with his people. The lesson at the end shows how important sharing is and to not only just think of yourself. To be wise and giving to your kingdom. Kids will love this book. It is easy to read and it has a great lesson in the end.… (more)




(151 ratings; 4.3)
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