As in his Nursery Crimes, Geisert once again zeroes in on a small Midwestern town inhabited by a group of pigs to tell an offbeat tale of how cooperation and resourcefulness can overcome deceit. Accompanied by hilariously deadpan etchings, the narrative follows a group of young pigs who use ropes, pulleys, a magnifying glass and some dynamite to reclaim their town's pride and joy, the titular ball of string. Bursting from the public gazebo in which it is housed in Rumpus Ridge, Wis., the string has been collected by generations of the town's youngsters. When it washes downriver in a flood one day, the pigs in the next town seize their chance. An aerial view shows Cornwall's town square, with its brick storefronts and miners' shacks, all laced with fine, spiderweb-like lines: the townsfolk have to dry out the string before they can display it. Half the fun lies in the poker-face text ("At noon, the Cornwallians were going to dedicate their ill-gotten ball of string"); the other half lies in the detailed illustrations of the Rumpus Ridge piglets as they build a sluice and water wheel and "[fashion] a windmill" to regain their prized possession. Any reader who has ever tried to rig up a bucket of water over a doorway will revel in Geisert's tongue-in-cheek delivery as well as the good guys' ingenuity and sweet revenge. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The porcine youngsters of Rumpus Ridge, a small mining town in Wisconsin, take great pride in their giant ball of string, which they happily enjoy until a storm causes the creek to flood and carries their ball of string downstream. The people of Cornwell then find the string and decide to dedicate it to their town. Meanwhile, the Rumpus Ridge youngsters locate the missing string and come up with a plan to get it back. Using teamwork and careful planning, they devise an exciting series of events to bring it back home to Rumpus Ridge where it belongs. This is an excellent children's book that teaches the value of teamwork. The wonderfully detailed illustrations almost make you think you are looking at photographs. The hand-drawn and colored illustrations are sure to catch your attention and keep you entertained. 2002, Houghton Mifflin Company, Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-This decidedly unusual picture book has an old-fashioned feel. The illustrations look almost like etchings or engravings, while the small-town setting showcases scenes of a simpler time. Geisert's quirky story focuses on the opportunistic theft of Rumpus Ridge, Wisconsin's claim to fame-a giant ball of string housed in a downtown gazebo, and the clever efforts of that community's children to retrieve their treasure from the Cornwallians, when it washes downstream in a flood. The story flows well, with a certain inevitability, though the vocabulary can be challenging at times. Geisert uses a mixture of full spreads and smaller vignettes to illustrate his tale. These pictures both illuminate the actions described and give careful observers a preview of upcoming events. At times, however, the details are rather small and difficult to discern. The events described are (obviously intentionally) quite peculiar and Geisert's sense of humor is extremely dry. While fans of Edward Gorey's offbeat tales might enjoy this absurd adventure, it's unlikely that a great many young children will be drawn to this low-key saga of string lost and found.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Praise be to those who see the joys of inspired silliness, for they shall delight the masses. Geisert, whose detailed townscapes executed with his wife Bonnie (Desert Town, 2001, etc.) both please and teach, here takes a solo journey to Rumpus Ridge, Wisconsin. It's a small mining town (the inhabitants, by the way, are anthropomorphic pigs) where children have created a giant ball of string, a local attraction that is displayed in a gazebo near the river. When a rainstorm sends the ball of string to the nearby town of Cornwall and Cornwall decides to keep it, a plot ensues. The young folk of Rumpus Ridge do not take this lightly, and they boat to Cornwall with a wildly elaborate waterworks and construction plan for getting their artifact back. Geisert's clear, deadpan prose and carefully detailed illustrations include tunnels, a windmill, subterfuge, and even explosions. A distant but affectionate cousin to John Vernon Lord's venerable Giant Jam Sandwich (1975). (Picture book. 3-8)
From the Publisher
An absolutely sui generis talent, Geisert excels at drawing mechanical contrivances and contraptions while also creating the most appealing pigs since the late Kurt Wiese created beloved Fredy. And there can be no higher praise than that!
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"An offbeat tale of how cooperation and resourcefulness can overcome deceit... Any reader who has tried to rig up a bucket of water over a doorway will revel in Geisert's tongue-in-cheek delivery as well as the good guys' ingenuity and sweet revenge." Publishers Weekly, Starred
"Geisert's clear, deadpan prose and carefully detailed illustrations include tunnels, a windmill, subterfuge, and even explosions." Kirkus Reviews