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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Draw the Line, by Kathryn Otoshi. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2017. $24.99 ages 4 and up

"When two boys
draw their own
lines and realize
they can connect
them - magic happens!
But then a misstep
causes their lines to ... "

When two young boys draw lines on the ground where each is playing there is no telling what might happen. Kathryn Otoshi has an idea. In this wordless book she provides a setting for her 'readers' to discover one scenario that might come to pass.

They are having such fun, without realizing that the other is there. When they bump butts, both wear a look of uneasy astonishment, and then surprise. It takes no time at all to see the joy to be found in linking their lines. One runs off, line in hand. Elated until he comes to a full stop; the line is coiled around the other. One is pleased, the other not so.

That is how the misunderstanding begins. A stormy tug-of-war results in the contested lines creating a chasm between the two. Both angrily blame the other, widening the gap between them. There appears to be no common ground. As one walks away, the other lags behind. The first finds a place where the lines are no so far apart, and fashions a bridge with his fingers, from one side to the other. A smile erupts as the second boy approaches. Can they erase the gap that lies between them?

I love the full page spreads, the use of color, line and emotion. Using the gutter to stunning effect, the book's design is impressive. That it is done wordlessly while communicating so much is testament to Ms. Otoshi's talent.

Kids, when left to their own devices, can resolve conflict in wondrous ways!

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