The Line in the Sand – Perfect Picture Book Friday

I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a wordless picture book for PPBF, so this is a first!

The front end paper shows a solitary stick lying in sand. Then, in a spread before the title page, a shadow falls over the stick. What could it be? Page turn.

A funny-shaped creature (the one making the shadow on the previous page) has picked it up and used it to draw the words THE LINE IN THE SAND on the title page.

The story then unfolds with all kinds of crazy creatures playing on the beach. The one with the stick has drawn the line through the area where the creatures are playing. And then two of them, presumably friends, decide that this must mean that the other is supposed to stay on their side of the line. (I’m talking about you, crazy green critter and purple eyeball stalk critter.)

Illustrations ©Thao Lam

They look down at their feet on either side of the line. At this point, it’s hard to tell what they’re thinking. Are they wondering what that line might mean? What they should do? A great question to ask kids before turning the page

The conflict grows and grows and grows between the pair and, ultimately, they reach an unexpected resolution in this fabulously silly, yet thought-provoking wordless narrative.

The illustrations allow kids to make up their own interpretation of what the creatures are thinking and how they resolve the situation. A brilliant way to jump-start the conversation about the ways disagreements erupt, how they escalate, and how they can be resolved. A little bit of humor can go a long way.

Hats off to the fabulous author/illustrator, Thao Lam, for creating this ingenious book that promotes social and emotional learning.

Here’s a look at the trailer.


Pair this book with The Pig War by Emma Bland Smith. Can adults create conflicts that feel as ridiculous as fighting over a line in the sand? Talk about times when you may have started an argument that seemed silly later.

Using markers, crayons, construction paper, scissors, and glue, make your own funny creatures that would be right at home in the pages of this book.

Watch this video on Conflict Resolution created by RocketKids.

Title: The Line in the Sand

Author/Illustrator: Thao Lam

Publisher: Owl Kids Books, 2022

Ages: Pre-K through elementary school

Themes: conflict resolution, social and emotional learning (SEL)

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

8 thoughts on “The Line in the Sand – Perfect Picture Book Friday

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, I think it would be an interesting exercise for kids to supply the dialogue for these characters. They could process the entire conflict and come up with dialogue that resolves it. A great way to learn!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      I would never have known about this book if I hadn’t been wandering thru my branch library. I love discovering books that librarians gave pulled out and placed on top of the low shelves to entice people to pick them up.

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