11/03/2009

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater that Grandma Knit: Picture Book Tuesday Review

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater That Grandma Knit

by Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney
Illustrated by Vincent Nguyen
Katherine Tegen Books
10/09
0061650935 / 9780061650932
32 pgs
Ages 3-7

Cameron is excited to open the birthday present from his grandma. He hopes it will be a video game, a remote control car, or a blinking light for his bicycle. Grandma Susan always gives him the best gifts. And so, excitedly, he opens the gift to find … a truly terrible horrible sweater. Cameron doesn’t want a sweater, even if his grandma did knit it especially for him. Especially not a sweater with red, green, yellow, orange and blue stripes. Determined never to wear it, he puts it on his dog and plans to send the dog outside into the mud, but that plan gets foiled. Next, he tries to hide it in a bundle that’s going to a rummage sale, but that doesn’t work either. He then squeezes mustard and catsup on it, but Mom washes it, and it’s as good as new. Cameron feels bad, because he never intended to hurt his grandma’s feelings by not wearing it. Still, he just can’t. Until Grandma comes for Christmas. The family meets her at the station and she compliments Cameron about how nice he looks, but he’s still not convinced. After all, it has huge buttons and terrible stripes in awful colors.

Then she begins to tell him that each colored stripe has a meaning. One is connected to him kicking the winning goal in a soccer match. Another corresponds to the first time he rode his bike without training wheels. The orange stripe is for his love of oranges. Yellow corresponds to how happy his parents were when he was born. Finally, Cameron realizes that the sweater is special after all. He’s now proud to wear it, and plans to keep wearing it for a very long time.

This heartwarming tale ends with a simple knitting lesson aimed for young children as well as a sweater pattern for a more experienced knitter. The pictures are charming, with luminous people and, on many pages, a cheerful yellow background. For grandparents who warm to this type of story, it’d be a terrific gift to give their grandchild.

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