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Author: Jan Adkins

Illustrator: Jan Adkins

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Publisher: WoodenBoat Publications,

Material: hard cover

Summary: With this book, the author provides the reader with all that he/she will ever need or want to know about string, rope, knots and their myriad applications. Along with descriptions, we read about the kinds of knots and how they are used (from boating to clotheslines to hammocks). This is a book for hobbyists.

Type of Reading: independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 9 to 12

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: At first I thought this was going to be a book about cowboys and horses because of the cover photograph. I was wrong! This is a book about tying knots, all kinds of knots. It was funny when the book talked about tying a necktie. My dad knows how to do that, but I sure have had a hard time with it. I’m going to need to read this book a few more times before I’ll know how to tie strong knots. this is one of the books that will be handy to keep in the garage so when anyone in the family needs to hook something up, we’ll know just what to do.

Adult Reader Reaction: In addition to his sense of humor and interesting trivia tid-bits, Mr. Adkins has total grasp of his subject, presents the information clearly and concisely, and embellishes the narrative with outstanding drawings and graphic representations. How many other materials and inventions have had similar effects and as little appreciation?

Pros: This is a book for a “select audience”, those interested in the history of line and knots. If the reader has an interest in the topic, he/she will be engaged immediately. Jan Adkins writes well, has a wry sense of humor, and is extremely knowledgeable about his subject matter.

Cons: Though it is well written and superbly illustrated, the book will only appeal to a limited audience.

Borrow or Buy: This is a worthwhile purchase for a 12—14 year old Boy Scout working on a Merit Badge. It might grace an elementary of middle school classroom or library bookshelf for curiosity seekers, but is probably best suited for a public library.


Educational Themes: Our lives are filled with objects like line or string to which we pay little or no attention. The book demonstrates how interesting and valuable such a mundane material has been to our personal comfort and security.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - sports, boating, picture book, guidebook

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2005

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