Seven Golden Rings
By Publishers Weekly
When Bhagat leaves his village in India to seek his fortune as the rajah’s musician, his mother gives him one rupee, a chain with seven tiny gold rings, and some invaluable advice: “Remember, Bhagat, you are a fine singer. But you are an even finer thinker.” A city innkeeper agrees to accept one gold ring as payment for each night stayed, but Bhagat can only afford to pay the goldsmith to break one link. Is there a way to divide the chain so that no ring goes to waste? Bhagat’s clever solution ends up unexpectedly making his fortune, and sets the stage for an engrossing explanation of base 10 and binary number systems in the author’s note. LaRocca’s story, cast in the cadence of classic folktales, is enlivened by the contrast of Sreenivasan’s cartoon illustrations, which render tableaux in a magenta-tinged palette. A deft and engaging introduction to a sometimes flummoxing subject.