Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Straight Line Wonder

Author: Mem Fox

Illustrator: Marc Rosenthal

Published by: MONDO 1997

Genre: picture book

Age Range: grades 1-2

This book is about a straight line that, one day, decides he doesn't want to be straight anymore and starts to wiggle, and twirl and bend into different kinds of lines. A couple of his straight line friends tell him to stop because the other straight lines won't like it and will stare but he continues to be himself and try out different things. Eventually all the lines decided to abandon him, they didn't want anything to do with him because he wouldn't be a straight line like he was "supposed" to be. He keeps on twirling and wiggling and making himself into a different kind of line until a famous film director sees him and makes him into a movie star and the other lines accept him again.

I think this is a cute way to talk about being different and how we should treat those that are different than ourselves. This line didn't want to follow the crowd and he perservered in his dream to not be a straight line even though everyone else tried to put him down and make him stop. The story uses a lot of repetition of phrases which can help the readers to learn the words. I can see this being read to a class and the students filling in what the second and third line say to the first everytime he makes a different kind of line. "Stay straight, silly!" and "People will stare!"

Line is one of the elements of art that children must learn. This story could be a fun lead into making different kinds of line and talking about how line is used in art. There can be straight lines, curved lines, thin lines, thick lines, many, many different kinds of lines. Students could make art using different lines and different tools to make lines. Students will already have been using line to create art for years because a line is what we make when we pick up any drawing tool but it is important to understand what can really be accomplished with line. Line creates shapes and forms, it can create depth of field, texture, etc.

Some artwork made up of lines:

"Line No. 50" by Zdenek Sykora

"Urban Jewels" by Denyse Thomasos

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