By a Thread

Overview

The toy box has erupted and the toys are perched high, dangling low, hanging by a thread. Bard, the old bear, has been lucky enough to land in the underwear drawer and from there is able to assist his friends, if only they will follow his daring directions. By a Thread is about heroism in small places, all the different kinds of courage a child can draw upon. The text rhymes, and its rhythm takes the tongue on a rollicking ride. Even the most determined reader will not be able ...

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Overview

The toy box has erupted and the toys are perched high, dangling low, hanging by a thread. Bard, the old bear, has been lucky enough to land in the underwear drawer and from there is able to assist his friends, if only they will follow his daring directions. By a Thread is about heroism in small places, all the different kinds of courage a child can draw upon. The text rhymes, and its rhythm takes the tongue on a rollicking ride. Even the most determined reader will not be able to read the story silently.

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Editorial Reviews

Canadian Children's Book News
"This rollicking rhyming story is enormously fun, not only to the ear, but to the eye."
The Vancouver Sun
"Ned Dickens, playwright by trade, writes with a wonderful Suessical rhythm mand rhyme...utterly charming."
Deakin Newsletter
"Bright, lively, inventive, and a great deal of fun to read aloud as a whole, or with young assistance, By a Thread is a joy. Graham Ross's lively colourful illustrations are the perfect accompaniment."
Hi Rise
"A captivating picture book that will delight ages 4 to 8 again and again."
CM Magazine
"A fun read-a-loud with expressive illustrations by Graham Ross that will delight the reader."

"A book that can be read and reread and enjoyed each time."

"Highly Recommended."

Quill & Quire
"The book design and zany illustrations by Graham Ross give By a Thread a very contemporary exuberance."
Deakin Newsletter
"Bright, lively, inventive, and a great deal of fun to read aloud as a whole, or with young assistance, By a Thread is a joy. Graham Ross's lively colourful illustrations are the perfect accompaniment."
Hi Rise
"... a captivating picture book that will delight ages 4 to 8 again and again."
CM Magazine
"... a fun read-a-loud with expressive illustrations by Graham Ross that will delight the reader."

"...a book that can be read and reread and enjoyed each time."

"Highly Recommended."

Quill & Quire
"The book design and zany illustrations by Graham Ross give By a Thread a very contemporary exuberance."
Children's Literature
The type of this rhyming text changes and wanders all over the pages as it tells of the strange adventure of young Beo and her toys. Her toy box has exploded, and the floor has disappeared, leaving a "dizzying drop so deep and so steep/ From the bottomless bottom right up to the top of the tippy toe top..." Beo and several toys are teetering or gripping threads. Bard her bear is fortunately caught in the underwear drawer. He directs the others to work together, using a thread, some tights, and a light fixture to get themselves safely to the bed. Beo's fertile imagination, which seems to have started the adventure, then restores the floor. They have all had fun, but now it's time for the "perilous journey" to lunch. Ross uses mixed media, mostly acrylic paint with watercolors, pencil, and collage bits for special emphasis, for this sometimes melodramatic frenetic romp. The varied sizes and colors of typefaces, exploited as design elements, make the reading an extra challenge to the following of the wild action of the visual story. The inventive verse and the humor-filled illustrations that keep moving around the pages make for amusing rereading, but not perhaps for everyone. 2005, Orca Book Publishers, Ages 6 to 9.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Text and pictures burst with energy as a "toy box volcano" erupts and tosses Beo and her stuffed animals everywhere. One swings from a curtain; one grasps a blanket thread which is slowly unraveling. "And Beo (let's whisper so's not to distress her) / Had a teetery toehold on top of the dresser." They work together to get down safely. One vanishes briefly (having slid inadvertently into the underwear drawer) and a rope of multicolored tights is hurled across the room for rescue purposes. Dickens's tricky rhythm and rhyme are challenging but offer supreme satisfaction. The words themselves dance across the pages, tilting and curving in high spirits, changing size and color. Ross's acrylic, collage and watercolor-pencil illustrations are mostly full-page close-ups, conveying the precarious mood and details but not the overall setup. White space on facing pages perfectly balances the pictures' chaos. When everyone's down, a joyful dance and a quest for lunch. If only toy-box volcanoes erupted everywhere. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551433257
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Look! Look what I've done!! The words of an eight year old as he holds up the drawing of a vibrant red fire engine. Oh Graham, that's wonderful.

Really? Oh this is good. You draw a picture and you get a reaction. I could get into this! And so it began. The seed was planted, further watered by bedtime rituals of propping pillows up against his bedroom wall getting into bed to get lost in a family member's reading of The Wind in the Willows.

An unintended lesson learned through those readings that our intrepid illustrator still calls upon in his illustration work is that the viewer will take different things from the illustration and he will add elements to the illustration that may go over some heads, but others will catch them and smile. There's always something to look at.

A graduate of the illustration program at Sheridan College in Ontario, Graham thought he would stick around the big smoke and in addition to his work as a designer at Canadian publisher McClelland & Stewart, he would also cultivate his Flock of Seagulls hair style and work on his dance floor moves. But alas soon follicles started to recede and shoulder pads deflated, so Graham moved back to his hometown of Ottawa, Ontario to contemplate his next career move.

It was in Ottawa that Graham began his freelance illustration and graphic design career. A career that has spawned illustrations for such publishers as Orca Book Publishers, Scholastic Canada, and Meadowside Books of the United Kingdom, as well as numerous Canadian government agencies and private design firms.

He lives in Merrickville, Ontario with a circus star family: his juggling wife, a helldriver daughter, a canine cannonball, and a fire breathing cat.

Primarily a playwright, Ned Dickens lives a life filled with adventure. He has twice raised the money to buy a vehicle and drive it to Nicaragua to donate to development projects. He has been a special education teacher and has done theater with street kids. By a Thread is one of several stories about Beo (who takes her name from Beowulf). The collection Beo's Bedroom is about to become an animated series. By a Threadwill be one of the first episodes.

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Read an Excerpt

“I sympathize, Bard,” murmured Curtis politely.

“But, frankly, I think that you've landed quite lightly,

While I am, I think, at the end of my thread.

If I am and I fall, I'm afraid I'll be—."

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