A Long Piece of String


Follow a single piece of black string through this story.

I’m fond of the work of famous graphic designers who have created children’s books. It is certainly because of their graphic approach, but also because of their professional ability to tell stories without spelling everything out—graphic designers give much credit to children for their ability to understand and appreciate books with an adult level of visual sophistication.

William Wondriska is a graphic designer who created a number of wonderful out-of-print books (many that are worth hunting down), but A Long Piece of String (originally released in 1963) was recently reprinted by Chronicle Books. It uses the simple device of following a single black piece of string from spread to spread, tangled around warm red objects. It makes you question the expected scale of small and large things, the strength of queens and octopuses, and the inevitable relationship between two objects that simply follow after one another alphabetically (a flower and a gas pump).

It’s possible that Wondriska did not purposefully intend any meaning beyond a beautiful collection of illustrations, tied together by alphabetical order and simple string. But I challenge you to answer his parting question, “What do you have on your string?”

Find A Long Piece of String at your local library.