As I’ve have gotten older, I have become That Dreaded Aunt that Gives Books for Presents. The thing is, the kids I know get so. much. crap, for their birthdays and Christmas. So much plastic. So much that will be forgotten and discarded within weeks of unwrapping. It exhausts me, and makes me sad.
So, instead of adding to the great pile of toys, I opt to give books. I know books will never be opened with the excitement of a noisy, brightly colored plastic thing, but books don’t mind not being the star of the show. Books will patiently wait on the shelf, and, long after all the flashy gifts are gone, those books will beckon. Books will take them places and hopefully become their life-long friends. Books are sneaky like that.
Here’s a short list of some of my favorite knitting, yarn and sheep related picture books for your consideration.
“The Hueys are small and mischievous, unique compared to the world’s other creatures–but hardly unique to one another. You see, each Huey looks the same, thinks the same, and does the same exact things. So you can imagine the chaos when one of them has the idea of knitting a sweater! It seems like a good idea at the time–he is quite proud of it, in fact–but it does make him different from the others. So the rest of the Hueys, in turn, decide that they want to be different too! How? By knitting the exact same sweater, of course!”
A hand knit hat and the moon? You know I’m going to love it! Actually this book is so lovely it made me teary.
“Red Knit Cap Girl lives with her animal friends in an enchanted forest. There is so much to see and do, but more than anything Red Knit Cap Girl wishes she could talk to the Moon. Join Red Knit Cap Girl and her forest friends on a journey of curiosity, imagination, and joy as they search for a way to meet the Moon.”
This is a great book for knitters with a sense of humor.
“A fastidious fellow, Lester likes everything just so. So when Cousin Clara moves in and knits him truly dreadful sweaters as fast as he can surreptitiously dispose of them, Lester must think of a way to get rid of them for good — or be doomed to look like a clown forever.”
This picture book captures what really goes into knitting a sweater, the love and the care and the intention. It’s just achingly lovely and so full of truth.
“On a fresh spring day, young Yetsa, her mother and her grandmother gather to prepare the sheep fleeces piled in Grandma’s yard. As they clean, wash and dry the fleece, laughter and hard work connect the three generations. Through Yetsa’s sensual experience of each task, the reader joins this family in an old but vibrant tradition: the creation of Cowichan sweaters. Each sweater is unique, and its design tells a story. In Yetsa’s Sweater, that story is one of love, welcome and pride in a job well done.”
“To protect his ears from the cold and snow, Mother Rabbit knits Little Rabbit a hat. He loves his hat so much, he and his mother make them for all of his friends.”
I have blogged about Woolbur before; it’s one of my favorite picture books of all time ever. It’s fun and sweet and the message is that being yourself is okay. Every child should have this book.
From Booklist: “Nell is a busy young knitter, but because she has a quiet voice and a hobby that doesn’t engender much excitement, she takes a back seat to her friends. Nell is not just knitting for herself; much of her knitting time is spent making scarves, blankets, and mittens for those in need. When the sweater that she enters in the county fair earns a blue ribbon and she gets a special medal for her good works, both Nell and her hobby become a lot more popular. Knitting may not seem a natural subject for a picture book, although more girls and boys are taking it up. However, Roth zeroes in on common kid traits such as shyness and a propensity to help others and wraps the knitting around them.”
This one will be of particular interest to the weavers.
From School Library Journal: “In this satisfying picture book, a young woman raises sheep, shears them, cards and spins the wool, dyes the yarn, and weaves it at a loom. She is an artist who takes pleasure from and applies patience to each phase of her work. Lyon’s writing is lyrical, and the gentle pacing is calming. Terms like “yearling,” “skein,” “warp,” “weft,” “shuttle,” and “treadles” are understandable in context and bring richness to the text.”
“A shepherd shears his sheep, cards and spins the wool, weaves and dyes the cloth, and sews a beautiful new red cloak.”
This book is sadly out of print but, if you are lucky, you can find a second hand copy. Although she has no money, Anna’s mother barters and trades with craftspeople to get a new coat for Anna. This book is a treasure.
This one is for the goat lovers!