book review

Lost: A Story in String

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Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices was the first Paul Fleischman book we ever read. Since then we have been avid fans. Mr. Fleischman isn’t an author who merely wants us to sit reading his well crafted stories and poems. There always seems to be an invitation to participate, to jump right into the pages of his books.

Lost: A Story in String brings back the ancient way of storytelling through string. This story within a story uses ink on clapboard illustrations as well as string figures.

When a lightning storm cuts off all of the electricity a nine year old girl wonders what to do with herself.  She complains that she’ll “simply die” without the use of her computer, TV and VCR. Her grandmother tells her a story about a girl whose life was really in danger.

“About all she had in this world to play with was an old piece of string.”

Here is where the story really begins with the young girl going out to search for her dog only to get lost in the forest during a snowstorm. As the grandmother continues to narrate the story she uses a piece of string wrapped between her fingers and hands. Throughout the story the shapes of a house, jaybird, dog’s head, and many others recounts this snowy tale.

The shape of the North star finally leads the lost girl home.  The young girl managed to stay in the forest two days through her own resourcefulness as well as finding her dog. The moral of the story is to do much with little.

The ink drawings match perfectly with the string formations creating a lovely balance. With simple movements the string figures move from one to the other. In the back of the book is a great resource on how to make these string figures. After reading this wonderful tale we spent many days after re-telling it using our string figures.

I’d like to say congratulations to Paul Fleischman for being nominated for the Hans Christensen Award. It is the premier international award for children’s books. Best of Luck to  You !

Something To Do:

Once we started making these fun string figures, as well as playing quite a few games of cats cradle, we wanted to expand our string figure repertoire. We found these books helpful:

Finger Strings by  Michael Taylor

Pull the Other One  by Michael Taylor

Now you See It …. String Games and Stories Bk 2 by Michael Taylor

String Games by Richard Darsie

Fascinating String Figures by Master String Figures

Cat’s Cradle by Anne Johnson

Here’s wishing you many happy moments of string and story creations.



Disclosure: The books mentioned above are connected to the JIAB Amazon Associate Account. In December any monies earned over the course of the past year will be donated to the Reading Is Fundamental Program.