William Wondriska ~ Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972
Anyone familiar with the newly reissued A Long Piece of String and the design favorite PUFF, will appreciate it when I say that, according to the dust jacket, Mr. Wondriska and his editors considered this one to be his finest work. The artist had "a particular affection for the magnificence of Monument Valley", an area in Utah that features unique sandstone formations, and the admiration is apparent in these beautiful paintings.
The boys were going home. Camping together for the last three days had been fun, but it was good to be going. Only one more night; tomorrow they would be home. It seemed like they had been gone a long time. Suddenly something moved ahead of them. They stopped. Off the trail, lying in the brush, was a large shape. It was their father's new colt. He had hurt his leg and could not walk.
When the older brother leaves the young brother to seek help, the boy truly experiences the beauty of the valley. A lightning storm. A rainbow. Wolves. A warm night fire. The stars. The illustrations show different variations of the same vista, while the main characters play like ants on a tiny stage. The natural colors of the desert shift in a constant swirl with the passing of the minutes, while the echoes of the unreal dance around every corner. Ultimately, the small boy must search deep within himself to find the will to be unafraid.
A lovely story filled with the mystery of being alone.
A Long Piece of String
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