Draw the Line

Kathryn Otoshi. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-62672-563-8
Otoshi (Beautiful Hands) uses a simple charcoal line to tell a tale of conflict and resolution. Two boys—one with light skin and dark hair, the other with dark skin and light hair—discover that the lines they’re drawing on the ground can be picked up like rope. The urge to tease overtakes them, then the desire to hurt back. Soon they’re tugging on opposite ends of the line (and on either side of a spread) as a chasm opens between them. But the chasm is an illusion: when one boy, idly experimenting, finds a way to close it, the two reconcile in a moment of warm spontaneity. Otoshi’s slightly wooden figures act and move against a backdrop of empty white—the story could be happening anywhere. The pages are lit with splashes of golden yellow when things are going well, shifting to purple when the strife intensifies. The action is clear and, because the story is wordless, understandable to very young children. Otoshi suggests that if those in conflict stay open to the possibilities, resolution can be found in unexpected places. Ages 3–6. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/07/2017
Release date: 10/10/2017
Genre: Children's
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