The Squiggle - a perfect picture book

As I was looking through my Lunar New Year's books, I found one that I have managed to overlook in other years.

My loss.  It is beautiful.  A perfect picture book for Friday.  

The Squiggle
written by Carole Lexa Schaefer
illustrated by Peirr Morgan
published by Dragonfly Books, 1999
themes: imagination, Chinese culture
delightful for children 3 - 7

opening lines

My teacher says, "Time to walk to the park." So, as always, off we go in a bunched up, slow, tight, straight line.  I am last. No one else sees what I see on the sidewalk.

summary (from the book cover)

As she walks to the park with her school class, a young girl finds a piece of string which her imagination turns into a dragons tail, an acrobat, fireworks, a storm cloud and more.

why I love this book

• I love books that tickle the imagination and encourage the reader to see everyday objects or occurrences from a new perspective.
The Squiggle reminds me of Except IfNot a Box, and Not a Stick, other books I love.
• The text is simple, providing space for the imagination.
• The use of onomatopoeia allows me to "hear" the adventures with the squiggle.
• The illustrations (markers and gouache on "oatmeal" paper), inspired by Asian brush stroke painting, clearly show the imaginary incarnations of the squiggle.
• The children are Asian; I like my classroom library to include a books that depict a variety of ethnicities and cultures.
• The adventures of the squiggle teach about Chinese culture.
• At the end of the story, the children are no longer walking in a "bunched up, slow, tight line".  They have transformed into a joyful squiggle.


This book begs for a piece of red string and time to play with it to see what it will become.  Markers, crayons or pencils could complete the picture.  I see some red string in my classroom's future next week.
source:  Scholastic
The Squiggle reminds us that going on a walk can be an adventure, not just a means of transportation (or exercise).  Go on a walk, open to the possibilities presented by the imagination.

Celebrate the Chinese culture presented through the illustrations.

Create a Chinese New Year's dragon.

source: Handprint and Footprint Art

source: Handprint and Footprint Art

source: Kaboose
Take a dragon on parade.

 Eat long life noodles.

Happy reading and Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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  1. I love your book recommendations (and I'm going broke because I keep heading over to Amazon after I read them:)

    1. My Amazon wishlist keeps growing (even with all the books that I buy) as a result of bloggers' recommendations. There are just so many amazing books out there.


  2. This book looks great. I never think of doing Chinese New Year *slaps hand to forehead*. Am going to check out this book. LOVE the art dragons.

    First in Maine

    1. Chinese New Year is so much fun - lots of bling, you get to make noise and you eat long noodles. What's not to like!?!? Try it for fun one year.


  3. This looks like a lovely book. The imagination goes wild! I like all your fun activities for Chinese New Year. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I like imagination goes wild books too.


  4. Love this post, Sandi, and all the different activities, especially the coin covered dragon.
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

    1. Dragons are supposed to bring good luck. Seems like a good thing to have one in the classroom.


  5. I am enchanted with your selection. Such a creative book that encourages so much imagination -- with one little red string. And, tied into the Chinese New Year. Love you activities. Glad you added this to our list.


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