Arthur Geisert, Author . Houghton/Lorraine $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-618-13221-8

As in his Nursery Crimes, Geisert once again zeroes in on a small Midwestern town inhabited by a group of pigs to tell an offbeat tale of how cooperation and resourcefulness can overcome deceit. Accompanied by hilariously deadpan etchings, the narrative follows a group of young pigs who use ropes, pulleys, a magnifying glass and some dynamite to reclaim their town's pride and joy, the titular ball of string. Bursting from the public gazebo in which it is housed in Rumpus Ridge, Wis., the string has been collected by generations of the town's youngsters. When it washes downriver in a flood one day, the pigs in the next town seize their chance. An aerial view shows Cornwall's town square, with its brick storefronts and miners' shacks, all laced with fine, spiderweb-like lines: the townsfolk have to dry out the string before they can display it. Half the fun lies in the poker-face text ("At noon, the Cornwallians were going to dedicate their ill-gotten ball of string"); the other half lies in the detailed illustrations of the Rumpus Ridge piglets as they build a sluice and water wheel and "[fashion] a windmill" to regain their prized possession. Any reader who has ever tried to rig up a bucket of water over a doorway will revel in Geisert's tongue-in-cheek delivery as well as the good guys' ingenuity and sweet revenge. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/22/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-618-84067-0
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