The Line in the Sand

By Thao Lam. Owlkids Books, 2022. 48 pages. $18.95/hardcover. Recommended for ages 4–8.

This wordless picture book will spark conversation as young readers tell the story from points of view that are sure to vary. Fanciful creatures, endowed with human and animal characteristics, frolic in beach sand. Suddenly, two of them notice a line apparently separating them into distinct groups, and they consider how to react. It took a second read-through for this older reader to discover the source of the line, and that’s a good thing. Deciding how and why the line appeared will be one of many questions about boundaries this whimsical book raises.

It’s fun to consider the gestures, actions, and facial expressions of the characters for what they reveal about conflict resolution. The line evolves, disappears, and is followed by other lines that eventually serve as aids to creativity rather than barriers, and everybody has a good time in the end. This playful and provocative book will fit well in Quaker homes and First-day schools.

Ann Birch, a grandma and former elementary school librarian, currently clerks El Paso (Tex.) Meeting.

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