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A LONG PIECE OF STRING

Author: William Wondriska

Illustrator: William Wondriska

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Chronicle Books, ©2010

Material: hard cover

Summary: This book is straight out of the 60s...1963, to be exact, and it shows. It's very cool orange ink-print monochrome with black highlights makes it look very retro. A long black piece of string "ties" together the single object on each page. As you go through, you realize the objects are not random, but actually carefully chosen representations of the 26 letter of the alphabet, in order from A to Z. The string invites the child to trace it's line, looping and loping across the page, around the object and off onto the next page. This is a very simply presented wordless picture book that leaves the discussion open for the reader to explore on their own

Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, interactive reading

Recommended Age: read together: 2 to 5; read yourself: 5 to 7

Interest Level: 1 to 6

Age of Child: Read with children ages 3 and 5.

Young Reader Reaction: My kids picked out this book. My sons loved to trace the string with their fingers. They had fun trying to guess the name of the object on the page, trying to match it to the letter in the alphabet we were supposed to be on.

Adult Reader Reaction: I liked the book OK, but perhaps my ego was bruised because it wasn't until O or P on the first reading that I realized the motivation for the choice of objects. I think once you realize that, the pictures make a lot more sense. Perhaps that is the beauty of this book - that it doesn't hand the children the answer on a silver platter, but instead forces them to think a bit. Also, there is a bit of subtlety that parents will appreciate: N has both a nut and some nuts (a walnut and a hardware nut that screws onto a bolt). Perhaps there is a reason why it was re-released 47 years later...

Pros: Simple subtlety and elegance of line make this a wordless picture book that little fingers can't resist.

Cons: I thought this was a little abstract for the youngest crowd, but perhaps this is actually a pro?

Borrow or Buy: Borrow or buy. Honestly, I am still unsure of what I think of this book. I don't know that it would keep my child's interest after 4-5 readings, as the novelty would wear off. Perhaps it is better as a library book that can be returned for a fresh story. It is definitely worth the time to read and invest some energy.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE THINGS A STRING CAN BE   WAITING FOR WINTER   SOUTH

Educational Themes: This is, in the end, an alphabet book. It's design lets kids create stories and it also introduces the idea visually of a word having more than one meaning.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - picture book, ABCs, alphabet, concept book, wordless book

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2011

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