Lines Going for Walks by Jenny deGroot
“A drawing is simply a line going for a walk” said artist Paul Klee. The following books celebrate the simplicity and magic of the line and its ability to “go for a walk,” leading into the world in creative and unexpected ways. The authors and illustrators of the these picture books remind us that it is often in the simplicity and beauty of illustration and text that a story can be told. This non-exhaustive list is compiled in order of publication date beginning with the most recent. Enjoy these titles yourself and share with the children in your life.
Draw the Line
by Kathryn Otoshi 2017
Playing on the multiple meanings within the title, the line in this wordless picture begins as a playful connection between two children who become friends only to be separated by the very line that initially brought them curiousity and joy. A book that will surely invite conversation about relationships between children of all ages.
Suzy Lee 2017
Lines are brought to life by a young girl skating alone on a quiet frozen pond. The magic of her skates creating the line is mesmerizing and musical in this wordless picture book. The real and imagined are blurred together in quiet movement and gentle surprise.
Free the Lines
Clayton Junior 2016
Free the Lines is an environmental tale about a little cat who sets out on small sailing boat to catch some fish. Out on the ocean the boat encounters a large fishing trawler that has cast its net wide, filling it with fish of all shapes and sizes. Will the cat in the small boat help the fish to escape? This wordless book uses simple line and pattern in white against blue and black to tell a timely story.
A Line Can Be 2015
Follow the Line to School 2011
Follow the Line through the House 2007
Follow the Line 2006
This author/illustrator works up a great concept in what is now her trademark style running through a collection of titles. Ljungkvist’s continuous-line drawings are detailed and children never tire of running their finger along the line page after page to the end of each book. A great inspiration for children and adults to try their hand at creating a continuous drawing to tell their own story.
Paula Bossio 2013
A little girl finds the end of a long black line and wiggles it to life. Together the little girl and the line create a world of play that transforms circles into bubbles, a line into a jungle vine or a tightrope. All great fun until the line becomes a hungry monster that needs to be tamed. This simple story will inspire children to explore the possibilities for playing with a line should they ever happen upon one.
Is it Big or is it Little
Claudia Rueda 2011
A line runs through this story about a cat and mouse. They in turn chase each other through the pages of the book. To a mouse everything looks big. Not so to the cat. A great book inviting a young child to explore the concept of relativity all the while following the line through the pages.
The Green Line
Polly Farquarson 2009
This photographic adventure takes the reader on walk through a park. The narrator’s voice is accompanied by a green doodle as she explores her surroundings, finding a stick, a butterfly, a feather, a daisy chain. The author has based this book on walks with her own young children in Hampstead Heath. It is an inspiration to compel the reader to take a walk into local surroundings with camera in hand and catch the details that are ready to be discovered.
Just How Long Can a Long String Be?
Keith Baker 2009
Ant finds a big ball of string and wonders how long a piece of string really is. His friend Bird wisely shows him all the different ways in which a string can be cut up and used. Bird and Ant spend the day together having great fun with string. At the end of the day the question is no longer a problem. Ant knows that a string can be as long as it needs to be. This book asks a great question and answers it imaginatively.
The Neat Line: Scribbling Through Mother Goose
By Pamela Duncan Edwards Illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal 2005
Neat Line began life as a baby scribble. As the young scribble grows up it realizes it has a special talent. Neat Line wriggles its way into a book of nursery rhymes encountering characters who have all kinds of troubles. By drawing a line here and a squiggle there Neat Line helps each of them solve their problem. The author and illustrator have teamed up to create a clever adapted story using Mother Goose rhyme.
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Crockett Johnson 1955
And last but certainly not least, the classic Harold and the Purple Crayon, the grand finale for this list. It is over half a century since four-year-old Harold first discovered the magic in his purple crayon but children still marvel at the wonder of it. Harold’s drawings lead him up trees and across oceans, encountering a monster on the way, but eventually leads to his own home, his own room and his own bed where he falls asleep. This well-loved story continues to inspire children to imagine what they might be able to create with their favourite colour crayon.
Jenny deGroot takes great joy in seeing children make a bee-line for the library to share what they are reading, exchange their books and find something new. Jenny finds herself in the perfect place for promoting literacy and encouraging imagination. She is a teacher-librarian and assistant principal for K – Grade 5 at Langley Christian Elementary School in Langley B.C.