Martin Jr, B. (1987) Knots on a counting rope. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc.
"Tell me the story again, Grandfather" were important words that the little boy spoke in this story. The main characters in this multicultural book are Grandfather and the young boy named Strength-of-Blue-Horses. The setting of the story is at an Indian camp and occurs back in native times. The little boy wants his grandfather to repetitively tell him the story about his birth and parts of his life. The boy's mother was in labor with him and a huge storm came. The wind howled "Boy-eeeeeeee!" over and over again until the boy was born. The little boy was born sick, frail, and blind. Grandfather took the baby outside where they met great blue horses. The horses gave the little boy strength to live, and this is why he received the name "Strength-of-Blue-Horses."
The little boy was present when a colt, who was named named Circles, was born. The little boy rode Circles all the time and became a great rider, and he depended on Circles to lead him. At the end of the story, Strength-of-Blue-Horse" participated in a race against many other boys. Now, you should read the book to find out whether or not the boy won, and how this race changed his life forever.
At the end of the story, Grandfather talks about a counting rope that he uses everytime he retells the story of his grandson's life. The rope signifies a great thing. To find out about knots in the rope, you have to read this story. This was an excellent story about the relationship between a boy and his grandfather and teaches students that we should never give up, despite our personal circumstances that we're either born with or that happen to us as time goes by. Character development is so important in this story because the main character faces many challenges (both emotionally and socially).
Symbolism plays a huge role in this trade book. The counting rope is the object that gives this book incredible meaning. The counting rope would also be considered a motif. Knots on a Counting Rope has an integral setting because the story would be totally different if it would have been placed in a different setting. This book would be appropriate for students grades 2-5. This book could be used in class to teach students the importance of never giving up. It also is a great example of the value of family. I chose this book because the title intrigued me. I wanted to know all about the rope and the significance of it. The illustrations in the book were beautiful and made me feel a part of the story. The illustrations helped me understand a little about Indian culture.
BIG question - Why was the counting rope such an important item to Grandfather and "Strength-of-Blue-Horse?"