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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
This book is just weird. I don’t mean “only” weird, because A Bit of String by Keenan Hopson so appeals to this particular adult’s weird sense of humor that he wonders if perhaps the children for whom it is intended really deserve to read it. The opening alone lends itself to that “pit-opening-in-the-stomach” kind of feeling, that sense that maybe one’s curiosity need not be fully indulged this time around. This is the beginning line of a truly irresistible story: “Once there was a rabbit, and one day, while walking through the woods, he found a bit of string.” This also happens to be the concluding line of the book, and what happens in between is all about the forest friends who communally decide to follow wherever that bit of string may lead. These forest friends – need it be said? – are all kind of weird themselves. Perhaps this is non-fiction, after all.
The illustrations that adorn A Bit of String, created by the author of this weird story, are most extremely weird, too. At the risk of over-stressing that one word among thousands available, the strange (if familiar) woodland creatures all possess that self-assured, wide-eyed gaze of the confused (maybe deranged?) central character. No, not the rabbit. But you’ll see. And the animals are all perfectly concise in their communications. The intelligent bear’s proposal: “Let’s climb it.” To create a book this simple, this weird, takes an inordinate amount of self-discipline and skill. Like telling a really good joke, one must use his words concisely and he must create his pictures clearly. Keenan Hopson does both perfectly, then disguises his way to the punchline by calling it a children’s book. A wonderfully weird one, nonetheless.