Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: One Grain of Rice by Demi

Hope ya like math, happy people! Today I’m throwing at my sister’s head what may well be the best known math-related picture book that doesn’t involve just counting. Now as you may know I chair the Mathical Book Prize committee sometimes and One Grain of Rice was awarded its Hall of Fame status. Today Kate and I talk about Demi’s real name, her hugely famous ancestors, and why she’s called “Demi” at all. And hey, is that really true that we don’t throw rice at weddings anymore because uncooked rice can injure birds’ stomachs? Or is that a myth? I just don’t now what’s real anymore.

Oh! Quick Note: You’ll find that the interior shots from this book are strangely reflective. As it turns out, the golden pages inside One Grain of Rice make it particularly difficult to photograph.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

I do mention a particularly good picture book in conjunction with this title. If you’d like a Indian math-related picture book that’s a bit more contemporary, Rajani LaRocca’s Seven Golden Rings with won Mathical’s Award for 2020. Can’t recommend it enough!

Kate has a point. Either the people who are starving have not yet noticed the animals that are lingering within their reach, or they’re figments of these people’s collective imagination.

When Demi illustrates a book, side details are kept to a strict minimum. That said, there are always exceptions to the rule. Exceptions like these cute widdle elephants!

These royal deer do NOT look pleased with their lot. Insofar as we can ascertain they were having a perfectly nice life until they were pressed into delivering rice. NOT something they were trained to do. One feels only pity for the deer handler that has to get these guys in line.

I couldn’t even fit this gatefold into a single photo easily. For its sheer WOW factor, this spread really drills home the sheer scope of the final amount. And as I point out, if this was a European folktale, then you just KNOW that ruler would marry the girl to get his rice back. He’d offer some excuse that he was marrying her for her cleverness, but he wouldn’t be fooling anyone. It would just to be to get back that rice. Can’t tell you how happy I am not to encounter that ending here.

I will take any excuse to show a video from Schoolhouse Rock: Multiplication Rock! My choice for today is the oddest of the multiplication songs, in part because it is voiced by Blossom Dearie.

Betsy Recommends: The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Great Vegetables by Lorene Edwards Forkner

Kate Recommends: The Try Guys

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. I want the listener who is having trouble listening to podcasts after she lost her commute to know that podcasts are the greatest motivator I have found for getting household chores done! I just got all the laundry folded and put away listening to this one. I did NOT do that yesterday, because I was waiting for a Fuse 8 and Kate episode to do it to! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, it works for me, I hope it works for others, too.

  2. Emma Roth Smith says

    I started listening regularly about 6 months ago, and my method has been to listen to new episodes as they’re released and, if I’m doing something like stuffing craft kits and have more listening time in my week, have been working backwards. I’ve made it to pre-pandemic times, which says a lot about how much time I spend on craft kits!