THE LINE by Paula Bossio


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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A wordless tale with a trick ending.

The art is designed to look childlike: A small girl with a carrot-shaped nose and a red dress colored outside its contours finds a line and picks it up. She shakes it into squiggles, a slide, then into a hoop that she rolls herself in. She blows bubbles with it and even turns it into an audience while she performs upside down. But then the audience morphs into a beast that threatens her, and a tear appears on her cheek. However, another creature made from that line appears behind her and chases off the beast. Her rescuer turns out to be a teddy bear, and the girl is emboldened to stick her tongue out at the departing beastie. All this plays out on smudged grayish white paper on which only the line in its many transformations and the little girl appear—until the last frame, in which readers see a small boy in a blue shirt, with a pencil, chuckling to himself. Has he made all the line drawings? Or only the menacing ones and perhaps the rescue teddy bear? Is the girl in control of her activity and imagination, or has the boy been managing all this mischief? What seemed to start as a lively and empowering sketch of imaginative play devolves into a distressingly manipulative scenario.

Though the art has its charms, the story, wordless as it is, unsettles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-894786-84-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Kids Can
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2013


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