Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lion, King, and Coin Paperback by Jeong-hee Nam & illustrated by Lucia Sforza (Eerdmans Publishing)

My thoughts:  I have been quite pleased with the new Trade Winds Series of children's books which feature historical stories that revolve around the development of global trade. In Lion, King, and Coin the young reader learns the fable or legend of King Midas who had the golden touch to the development of gold coins in ancient Turkey in around 600 BCE.

The gently flowing story speaks to the region and how the people of Sardis sifted the river sands for deposits of gold which they melted down and shaped into saleable objects. It tells of young Laos who helped his father and grandfather sift for gold and then trade their wares at the local market. Notice: the key word is "trade" and not "sell." They and others had to find someone with something they wanted and who in turn wanted the object they had available to trade in order to make a deal.

Eventually, the idea was born to melt the gold and use it to "buy" and "sell" the market goods. The idea was taken to the king who further developed it and charged Laos' family with the development and minting of gold coins. These were the first coins.

At the end of the book, there is additional information that tells of the times and the development of gold coins. There is a bit of geography giving the location of these events and also a great timeline.

The illustrations are great and so reminiscent of ancient Asia Minor art forms. The colors used primarily are soft gold and a soft blue that has some turquoise in it. There is limited use of reds and purples - all bespeak the area and times.

I found this an interesting and educational story though it is surely a work of fiction woven beautifully with historical fact.

About the book: A fascinating story about the invention of currency

Laos enjoys his life in ancient Turkey. His father and grandfather are blacksmiths, famous for melting gold into beautiful objects. Laos helps by working in his grandfather's market stall, bartering their gold for food and livestock.

But exchanging such different goods and quantities is complicated. What they need is something to represent the value of their goods, something durable and lightweight. And so the king comes to Laos's family with a very important task: to create something that will make the market accessible to everyone.

This Trade Winds book introduces readers to the world's first coin and gives them an appreciation for modern-day currency.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Eerdmans Young Readers a division of Wm.B.Eerdmans Publishing Company to facilitate a review of my own opinions which are freely given.

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