From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—Ant asks Bird the title question, and Bird answers by taking his small friend on a journey. As the white string crosses each colorful spread, Bird presents both playful and practical possibilities. "Will it finish a necklace?/A banjo?/A mop?/Will it partner a puppet?/A yo-yo?/A top?" By using pale overlapping images, Baker creates a sense of movement in many of the illustrations. A palette of pastels captures the beauty of spring with sweet pea vines climbing toward the sun, a kite flying in a powder blue sky, and Bird weaving string into her nest. At journey's end, Ant says, "Thank you, Bird!/Now I see…/a string's just as long/as I need it to be." Pair this lovely book with Ezra Jack Keats's Jennie's Hat
(HarperCollins, 1966; o.p.) for a fine spring storytime.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
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Ant asks Bird, “Just how long can a long string be?” and receives more of an answer than he bargained for. It depends whether the string will be used to tug a balloon, wrap around a box, hang a picture on the wall, stake up the sweet pea vines, or get attached to a pole as a fishing line. Ant, thus enlightened, realizes, “a string’s just as long as I need it to be,” and tends to his own task of making an ant-sized tree-swing. The tangled ball of string that unravels and wends its way from page to page provides an artful use of line. Pastel pages with a sense of movement and lots of texture make this book a visual delight. Although the question hardly seems like a child’s query, the multifold answer that links problem and solution will encourage children to think about the notion of relativity and the myriad uses that something like a string can have. Pair this with Antoinette Portis’s Not a Box (2006) and Not a Stick (2008). Preschool-Grade 2. --Patricia Austin