Lucy and the String – Perfect Picture Book Friday

I love the magic that can happen when picture books are written by author/illustrators.

Text/Illustrations © Vanessa Roeder

Lucy and the String is one of those magical books. At first I felt like I was being—ah—strung along.

Text/Illustrations © Vanessa Roeder


Text/Illustrations © Vanessa Roeder

What do you think is at the end of that string?

Text/Illustrations © Vanessa Roeder

Take a moment to observe Lucy’s face in that moment of peril. She’s not worried about a snarling creature. She is filled with joy at the possibilities of that marvelous tangle of string.

Turns out that the snarl is a bear…..

Text/Illustrations © Vanessa Roeder

A very unhappy bear. Who’s partially bare. Oh no!

Hank, the bear, growls and huffs. Lucy apologizes and then, ever the resourceful child, comes up with an idea to cheer Hank up.

The beginning end papers give the reader a clue about what those things will be.

Text/Illustrations © Vanessa Roeder

But Hank doesn’t think she’s entertaining, so Lucy thinks again. This time she whirls about with the string, only to create—a tangle around Hank that turns him into a poorly wound spool.  Hank’s ears droop. His half-lidded Garfield eyes express his disappointment.

But Lucy is not one to give up! She wrangles that string into a pair of cow-bear chaps, leaving Hank’s rear regions exposed. Then a tutu, but bears and ballet don’t mix.

Finally, Lucy knits a solution, an enormous sweater. But how will this work? Hanks’ bottom is bare, not his top.

Page turn

Lucy is now wearing the sweater dress and Hank is wearing her old dress as a skirt. Hank approves, and the pair dance.

This fix was just right.

Then Lucy snips the string that tethers to the two together. Sadness and tears at the sudden separation ensues. Until Lucy tugs at the string again.

And unravels the top part of Hank.

What to do? The solution—

Lucy and Hank knit a scarf that ties them together.

The closing end papers add a marvelous touch.

Text/Illustrations © Vanessa Roeder

Once the giggles subside, it becomes apparent that this book intertwines creativity, friendship, and resourcefulness. Congratulations to Vanessa Roeder on her debut!


Pair this book with EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett.

Learn to finger knit. Here’s a cool finger knitting project: Two-colored snake

Play with scribble doodling to create your own illustrations like the ones on the end papers and throughout the book.

TITLE: Lucy and the String

Author/Illustrator: Vanessa Roeder

Publisher: Dial Books for young readers, 2018

AGES: Preschool – 2nd grade

Themes: Friendship, Resourcefulness, Creativity

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog.

16 thoughts on “Lucy and the String – Perfect Picture Book Friday

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      And to think I just stumbled across it in the library when I was looking for other books. I love it when librarians showcase books on top of the shelves. I’d miss so many gems, otherwise. Cheers!

  1. Ste J says:

    Encouraging creativity and imagination, I think we can all learn from this book. I love the build up with just the string, keeps everyone guessing and has a lot of fun with it too.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      My son is fan of finger knitting. His school teaches all kids to do this. And I think Waldorf teaches all students to knit as well. It’s great for the brain and learning to write.

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