Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A piece of string is a wonderful thing by Judy Hindley illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain

A piece of string is a wonderful thing comes from an excellent non fiction series published by Walker Books called Read and Wonder (the original cover is the one below).  We have quite a few in our library so I was excited to see this one on a book sale recently.  I think the series is now called Read and Discover and luckily many of the titles have been reprinted.

In our library we have :
All Pigs are Beautiful
Apple Green and Runner Bean
Chameleons are cool
I love Guinea Pigs
What is a wall after all?
This bowl of Earth
A ruined House

A piece of string is a wonderful thing is told as a rhyme but, as with all the books from this series, it also includes extra facts in this case about string.

"Let us sing a song about string
what a wonderful thing it is!"

No one really knows the origin of string but like all wonderful human inventions it is sure to have arisen out of necessity such as cave men needing to haul a mammoth or a line for their fishing.  As the cave men huddled in their caves they must have pondered the need for something to hold their trousers up.  "They must have said, 'Oh, a piece of string would be SUCH a fine thing to have around the cave!" You can also read about the Egyptians and their ways of making rope from flax which might then have been used as the first plumb-line and for pulling water from a well.

This book is a joy to read aloud and has lively illustrations by Margaret Chamberlain.  She is the illustrator of The man whose mother was a pirate by Margaret Mahy.

There is so much to talk about with this book and it certainly would lead to some fun string projects. You might also like to look for these books about string.  The end papers show ancient and modern uses of string - so many ideas to explore.  Here are some further ideas.

When I think about rope I think of this quote I like to use with my senior students when we begin our discussions about Multiculturalism.  This comes from an old book in our library called Australopedia which was published in 1988.

"Like the strands of a rope, which woven together make a whole that is stronger than its parts, the different kinds of people in Australia make a country which has more variety, energy, imagination and strength because of all the backgrounds and ideas which are combined together as the Australia people."

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