November 17, 2017

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Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi | SLJ Review

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redstarOTOSHI, Kathryn. Draw the Line. illus. by Kathryn Otoshi. 48p. Roaring Brook. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626725638.

PreS-Gr 2 –Two boys have their backs to each other as they draw lines on the ground. When they run into each other, they decide to join their lines. One boy picks up the line, which has turned into a string, and starts playing with it. The other boy thinks this is funny—until the string gets caught around him and yanks him off his feet. Then he is angry, especially since the other boy laughs. He gets up and deliberately tugs on the string, yanking the laughing boy off his feet. The string starts to fray as the conflict between them escalates. As the boys yank back and forth on the string, the fraying part gets bigger and bigger until a chasm has opened up between them and the string has hardened. The boys yell at each other for a minute and pout, which causes the space to get even bigger. Eventually, the antagonists calm down, and one boy decides to let go of his anger. He walks back toward the narrower end of the abyss and the other boy follows. He kneels down and draws a bridge over the narrowest part of the cleft, which leads the other boy to kneel down; soon, the children are working together to close the distance. This wordless book uses symbolism to beautifully illustrate the damage that conflict can cause. The growing chasm, along with the mixed colors that clearly capture the boys’ feelings (yellow for happy, purple for unhappy) as they fluctuate, is striking. VERDICT This beautiful analogy of conflict resolution is a must-have for all libraries.–Heidi Grange, Summit Elementary School, Smithfield, UT

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.

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