Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant
By: Songju Ma Daemicke
Illustrated by: Christina Wald
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
Publication Date: September 2017
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
What do you get when you take a charming tale about a little boy and a cute elephant and add a little science into the mix? You get Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant, a delightful story that young readers will love.
Cao Chong was a young boy who lived in China almost two thousand years ago. His father, Cao Cao, was the Prime Minister of the Han dynasty. The story tells of the day that the ambassador of the Wu Kingdom brings an elephant to the prime minister as a birthday present. Cao Chong is very excited, as is everybody else, because he has never seen an elephant. In his glee, Cao Chong runs right up to the elephant and gives him a big hug. As the boy happily feeds the animal nuts, spectators begin to guess the weight of the huge mammal. When people start betting the weight of the elephant against various valuable items, the crowd gets very excited. But when somebody suggests cutting the elephant into smaller pieces to weigh him, Cao Chong knows he better think up a solution fast!
Author Songju Ma Daemicke has written a delightful story based on a tale her grandfather told her. That tale was based on the true story of Cao Chong (196-208), a child prodigy who used the principle of buoyancy to learn the weight of an elephant. Children will love reading about a young boy who "out thought" all the adults around him, and came up with a brilliant solution to weighing the elephant. Artist Christina Wald has added her own bright interpretation of the story to bring this tale to life. At the back of the book are several pages of additional learning, with information on buoyancy, using scales, facts about Cao Chong and a "Then and Now" look at the geography of China.
Quill says: A little history, a little science, and a wonderful story combine to make Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant a story that you will want to read to your youngsters.