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The Memory String Hardcover – August 21, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 290L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; Library Binding edition (August 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395861462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395861462
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Resentful of her new stepmother, Laura clings to a family heirloom, a "memory string" of buttons taken from special garments. As her father and her stepmother, Jane, paint the porch, Laura sits apart and fingers each button, loudly telling her cat about her great-grandmother's first "grown-up dress," her father's Gulf War service uniform and, last, the nightgown her mother was wearing when she died. Bunting's (Smoky Night) prose is as sure-footed as ever, but is much encumbered here by a contrived plot that has Laura losing the buttons and the family coming together in the search for them. A rapprochement between Laura and Jane, who finds the final missing button, is all but inevitable. Even Rand's (Baby in a Basket) light-dappled watercolors can't rescue the story from its didactic intent; this is likelier to engage adults looking for books that address a particular subject (such as stepparenting) than children. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Within hearing of her new stepmother, Laura meanly recounts to her disinterested cat what each button on her memory string means. There's one from her great-grandmother's first grown-up dress, another from her mother's wedding dress, and one from the nightgown the woman was wearing when she died three years ago. When the impatient feline jumps away, breaking the string, the buttons fly everywhere. Laura's father and Jane help find all but one of them, but the girl is inconsolable. In the night, she hears them debating about whether to cut an identical button from her father's military uniform. Jane insists, "Laura would rather have that button missing than have a replacement-It's like a mother. No substitute allowed." She finds the lost item with a flashlight and she puts it on the porch where Laura can see it without being offended by the finder. However, in the morning the child has had a change of heart and asks Jane's help in restringing the beads. Rand's oversized, light-dappled watercolor pictures show the love and loyalty between the father and his new wife and their love for the prickly and still-grieving Laura. Bunting trusts readers to interpret behavior and understand complex emotions without her having to provide a moral or dramatic ending. Instead, the story offers a hopeful beginning and invites readers to think about ways to remember family history-including making one's own button memory string.
Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Eve Bunting has written more than 200 books for children, many of which can be found in libraries around the world. Her other Clarion titles for very young readers include My Big Boy Bed, which was also illustrated by Maggie Smith, and Little Bear's Little Boat, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
The illustrations are beautiful as well.
DaisyMags
The story prompted many students to share their text-to-self connections relating to adjusting to a step-parent or dealing with the loss of a family member.
Tracy
I plan to use this book in my 3rd grade classroom.
eshadey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Laura is determined not to be caught talking to herself, so she grabs her not-so-pleased cat and recites the story of her buttons. Each button holds a memory from the past. Remembering these stories keeps her mother alive and close in Laura's mind. Laura uses her buttons as a defense against her changing world, but it just may be the buttons that bring the healing she needs. A great book to have on hand for children dealing with death, loss, divorce, and remarriage.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tracy on December 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Prior to reading this book to my class of third grade students, I wondered if the story would be too sad or "heavy" for them. Laura's mother has died and is dealing with her feelings for her step-mother. She has a "memory string" given to her by her mother with buttons that represent family memories. When the memory string breaks, she loses one of her most valued buttons, a button from her father's Army uniform that her mother had added when he returned from the Gulf War. My students loved the story and the wonderful illustrations. The story prompted many students to share their text-to-self connections relating to adjusting to a step-parent or dealing with the loss of a family member. We also did a writing activity involving their own memories and I had to give them very little prompting. The story had already stirred so many ideas and emotions in them, that they were easily able to write about several memories of their own families. I fell in love with Eve Bunting's writing after reading this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Raymond on January 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for children who now have a new step parent. It helps them give the new parent a chance.

Also I used this in my classroom to teach prediction and inference. Students loved the story. Some even wrote a sequel to it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Brokenshire-Prater on October 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Memory String is a wonderful touchstone text that lends itself to writing activities. As a member of the Louisville Writing Project, the book was first introduced to me and used in this manner by Synthia Shelby. Students create their own memory strings in a writing activity after being read the book. This can be done with all grade levels. As a literacy leader at Meredith-Dunn School in Louisville, I developed a lesson that I took to several classrooms in the school. Once students (and teachers) create their own memory strings, suddenly, they have all sorts of seeds of ideas for writing in various genres. It shows students that memories are not always happy and exemplifies the resiliency of the human spirit. My students were able to connect with the character, and with each others' memories, initiating more dialogue to help with their writing processes.
Eve Bunting has written so many texts that can be used to faculitate writing as well as help children to make connections and to consider social issues and how they impact them their world and future. Susan Brokenshire-Prater
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DaisyMags on March 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book a lot. I think that it speaks to how difficult it is for all of us to accept new situations and how difficult it is to lose someone that we love. One of this girl's prize possessions is her memory string and as the story unfolds around it, we get to see her learn to accept the new turns her life has taken. I found it fascinating to go and research button charm strings of the past after reading this book and then help my daughters to create memory strings of their own. The illustrations are beautiful as well.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book was wonderful for two reasons. I collect buttons and I know how special certain buttons are to me because of who they belonged to. Also, I thought the bridge of buttons that brought together step-mother and girl was a big surprise to the reader. For someone who loves buttons, this story is very special. This author understands a button collector.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By eshadey on July 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a sweet story about a little girl who loses her mother and her father is remarried. She has a memory string with buttons from different family memebers. Each button is a special memory about that person. The story tells about the relationship between the stepmom and the little girl. I plan to use this book in my 3rd grade classroom. It's good for a lesson on schema or questioning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Audrey Jane on April 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was a touching book that attempts to tackle a very complicated and difficult topic (death of a parent and the subsequent integration of a step-mom into a young girls life). It was very good but I felt it ended rather abruptly and awkwardly.
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