Hand-knit mittens provide more than warmth.
In an idyllic Old World Jewish village, Ruthie’s family raises sheep and then processes, dyes and spins the wool. She uses the yarn to knit mittens for her neighbors. The family also sells their mittens at the town market. One day, they come across a mother and her baby on the road and in need of assistance, and they invite them to stay the night. Ruthie is amazed to learn that the woman, who is deaf, communicates by means of a chalk slate and sign language with the baby. To Ruthie, the hand movements are like “delicate strands of yarn.” In the nighttime, the mother also ties a string of yarn to connect her hand with that of the baby. Ruthie comes up with the idea of knitting mittens for mother and child with a connecting string—and then also knits sets of children’s mittens with a connecting strand to wear in a coat to keep the mittens from getting lost. Rosner’s tale, based on a family story, is sweetly nostalgic and filled with warm good feelings. The softly textured paintings and rounded images complement the mood and present a bygone time through softly tinted lenses.
A sentimental family story celebrating a close-knit community. (brief knitting glossary, brief sign language glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)