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A String of Beads

by Margarette S. Reid

School Library Journal : K-Gr 4--Exemplary nonfiction in picture-book format. Interest in beads has been enjoying a revival for several years, so a good book on this level is long overdue. A young girl explains that she and her grandmother collect beads and make jewelry. Readers unobtrusively learn all of the basics about beads--who, what, where, when, and why--and are also exposed to cultural history, natural history, and even some math. The narrator speaks with a true child's voice, fresh and colloquial ("Grandma laughs at my shape names. Beads that she calls disks, I call Frisbees....She says a bead that is long and round is a cylinder. I call it macaroni.") Her simplicity conveys a sense of wonder at some of the remarkable things she discovers. Wolff's artwork has never been better. The cliche "a visual feast" truly applies to many of these pages, where beads of all types are shown, their variety a delight in itself. The book's design and layout are varied and playful yet cohesive, and the frequent use of black backgrounds complements the strong lines, adding an original and somewhat exotic look. Enjoyable in itself--and a superb starting point for any number of creative activities.

Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms