Reggie loves living above a convenience store because it means he doesn’t have to go far to buy candy. And whenever he heads downstairs, he gives the knot on the clothesline a yank because he loves the noise. However, one day he pulls too hard and—one thing leads to another—he ends up in the middle of the line, dangling above the ground. How on earth can he get down?
Reggie bursts onto the page with ferocious energy and a clear voice that carries him straight into peril. He’s endearing and a bit melodramatic, but author-illustrator Orbie stabilizes this with enough realistic tension from Reggie’s perspective that the whole situation feels both funny and serious. It’s a careful balancing act.
This is greatly served by her minimalistic watercolor illustrations. A masterful use of white backgrounds makes Reggie appears as though he’s drifting out in the middle of nowhere— surely how he views it. Yet when pulling away from Reggie’s perspective, Orbie fills in Reggie’s city-fied front yard setting, suggesting he might not be as high up as he thinks. A cute cat and plenty of subtle flourishes round out her light and fun illustrations.
Ultimately, Orbie has crafted a sweet story about a delightfully mischievous child learning to get out of a difficult situation on his own.
Title: The Clothesline
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Classification: Picture Book
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.