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STRING by Jan Adkins


Tying It Up, Tying It Down

by Jan Adkins & illustrated by Jan Adkins

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: April 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0-684-18875-9
Publisher: Scribner

 Despite a delightfully funny ``Opening Line'' concerning the orneriness of tangled string (``it has a nasty mind of its own''), the title here is something of a misnomer. String is mostly about rope and knots, an intriguing, densely packed volume about sailor's lore, the mechanics of rope, why some knots work better than others, vocabulary (``twine,'' ``line,'' ``sheets,'' ``halyards,'' etc.), even how to tie a bow tie and sew on a button (``a deft little piece of line engineering...a skill you will need the rest of your life''). The drawings are clear, detailed, and drawn with beguiling verve; they're also crammed with so many hints, arrows, directions, and comments (``a handsome knot--symmetrical and rhythmic'') that they can take some study to extract the meat. Adkins's instructions are full of brisk humor and great fun; he includes all the best knots--the bowline, the ``Abraham Lincoln'' of knots; clove, timber, and half hitches; and even a challenging new knot designed to cope with synthetic fibers: the ``Hunter's bend.'' Index. (Nonfiction. 10+)