Saturday, March 21, 2009

What to Read (part 1)

I really want Margaret to enjoy books. We have lots of books lying around and in January she started showing a lot of interest in books. I also started to take her to story time at the library regularly.

Now, I'm 23. My experience with children's books happened a while ago. I, myself, have a hard time picking out fiction for myself let alone for someone else. I didn't know where to start. Then I wondered, "Well, what do I like?"

The answer was clear: I like to knit.

Do you think there are children's books about knitting? Oh yes.

So I searched for knitting at our library and wrote down all the call numbers of picture books that mentioned knitting. Here are some of what I found.

Knitty Kitty is probably the favorite of the bunch. There are only a few sentences on each page, so Margaret didn't get bored of it- we could keep turning pages. My favorite aspect of this book include how kind the mother cat is to her kittens. She knits her three kittens a scarf, a hat, and mittens, but instead of using them to keep themselves warm, they use them to decorate a snowman. She doesn't get upset about this even when later they complain that they aren't warm. She simply says, "Don't worry, I have an idea," and they all go to sleep snug and warm together. Maybe I like it because of the cosleeping, but really I like it because of Knitty Kitty's calm reaction to their complaints. I think too often as parents, we'd say, "Well, if you hadn't been playing with that hat that I spent all morning making for you, you'd have it now and be warm- I guess you have to deal with the consequences!" I love that she is so patient with them.

Knitting Nell is also wonderful. Margaret also loved this one a lot because you could turn the pages quickly. Nell knits. A lot. She's shy, though, because a boy in her class once made fun of her voice. She knits every second she can get- she knits scarves and hats and mittens for the children's home and for other needy people. She also knits herself a sweater and enters it into the county fair. Not only does she win first place for her sweater, but she gets an award for her acts of charity. All the kids at school are impressed and she overcomes her shyness by teaching them all how to knit for charity- even the boy who made fun of her. I love that Nell overcomes her fears and that she's just so kind. It also makes me want to enter stuff into the county fair.

A Bumblebee Sweater was also pretty cute, but I didn't like it as much as Knitty Kitty. Nellie is going to be in the spring play as a bumblebee and her grandmother knits her a huge striped sweater for her role. However, Nellie wears it to parties and baseball games and gets it dirty. After repeated washings, the sweater shrinks to size- and then accidentally too small. It ends up that Nellie is a flower instead of a bee, so it all works out. Maybe that deus ex machina at the end was too much for me. Also, I didn't like how Nellie's mom was so disgusted with how dirty the sweater kept getting (and that she didn't know how to take care of a wool sweater). She's a kid, kids get dirty.

The Red Wolf is a new fairy tale about a princess, Roselupin, locked in a tower because her father thinks the world is too dangerous for her. On her seventh birthday, a present arrives at the castle: a bejeweled golden box full of yarn that says, "Knit what you want." The king laughs at that notion: "Knit what you want! Knit something for me!" and makes fun of her gift. She knits a fox costume and puts it on and turns into a giant fox and runs and frolicks and enjoys the wild, scary world. The king thinks the fox ate his daughter and tries to appease the fox by giving it lots of cake and sweets. She goes out to play in the woods and gets lost. The villagers go looking for the fox and find a strand of red wool leading up to where Roselupin is found sleeping. The villagers praise how smart she was to defeat the fox leave a trail to find her. Her dad, however, takes this as a lesson that the world REALLY is as scary as he thought and builds a bigger, taller tower to keep his daughter in and again laughs about her making something for him. While she's in that tower she knits a mousy brown pajama suit for her father- who subsequently turns into a mouse and she's never bothered again. I loved this story because the heroine is so creative- it's also very reminiscent of Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. I loved it. Strong female characters are my favorite.

One Little Lamb was also a quick page-turner. Margaret requested it more than once. :) It goes through the steps of making a pair of mittens: from shearing the sheep, to combing the wool and spinning it and dying it and knitting it.

Nonna's Porch had fun rhythm and repetition which Margaret really liked and was a great good night book. It doesn't focus on knitting as much as the others, but in almost every picture, you see Nonna knitting or her knitting basket or yarn. I loved the onomatopoeia- it was a lot of fun to read out loud.

So if you're ever stuck and don't know what books to get to read to your kids, find something you like and see if there's a picture book on it. I didn't know knitting was all that popular of a theme- and if you like something like baseball, you'll find tons more than I did!

Next Saturday, I'll share another fun way to find books to read to your kids.


  1. I'm coming over from Mormon Mommy Blogs, asking for your help. I am in the running for a round trip airfare paid ticket to Connecticut, to meet a friend I became acquainted with through blogging. She is a super fun person and is holding this contest. I entered a funny story titled "Grapejuice Floaties, Now Marry Me." The person whose story receives the most votes will win a trip to meet this generous lady, whom I'm hoping to meet. The voting ends Sunday evening. I am ahead for now but there is a story coming up from behind out of nowhere and I would so, so, appreciate your help. Her blog is and the voting is on the sidebar on the right. "Grapejuice, Floaties" Just go there and cast a vote for me, please. Thanks so much-you're awesome! ♥♥

  2. If you ever need children's books or ideas for them give me a holler. I have thousands and access to thousands more and may possibly be doing some graduate work on children's literature. I current;y have a mild love affair for Mo Willems who writes a series with a pigeon who has the attitude of many young children as well as many many other very wonderful titles. Sorry, I could go on and on about children's books. Also, my parents documented my first word as book. -Katie F

  3. We have "Shall I knit you a Hat" by Kate and M Sarah Klise about a young rabbit and his mother who come up with creative knit Christmas Gifts for their friends. Wren (1) gets bored with this one, but the older children who visit enjoy it. We also have "Love from Wooly" which is a touch and feel book that Wren enjoys.

  4. I have The Red Wolf waiting for me at the library. I'm sure my daughters will love it. I love to knit and I'm teaching (or at least trying to) my 4 year old to knit. She enjoys knitting. This will be a fun book for us. Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. We read The Red Wolf and my 4 year old daughter LOVED it! She requests it just about every day. Thanks for the suggestion.


Please review my blog comment policy here before commenting. You may not use the name "Anonymous." You must use a Google Account, OpenID, or type in a name in the OpenID option. You can make one up if you need to. Even if your comment is productive and adding to the conversation, I will not publish it if it is anonymous.