A little girl’s grandmother knits up a fantasy kingdom in this picture-book debut.
As McRoy’s story opens, a youngster wonders whether her grandmother’s knitting hobby has gone too far: “My Grandma lives in a knitted house. / It is actually made of wool.” She asks her “politely” if she’d consider a different hobby, prompting Grandma to lead her through a knitted forest into a magical knitted kingdom she created. There, everything—“from elephants to ants,” fairies, nymphs, trees, and flowers—are not only alive but also made of cozy wool. There are knitted hills, an ocean, and snowflakes, too. (Brandao’s illustrations, in what appears to be colored pencil and ink, lack polish, but their knit-stitch patterns, soft hues, and generous details will charm the book’s target audience.) The kingdom began, Grandma says, with a single tree that her own grandmother knitted long ago, and now, she says, in awkward verse, the kingdom is her granddaughter’s to explore: “With all the time I spend on this / your curiosity would always grow.” Although bonding between a grandparent and grandchild is familiar picture-book fare, it’s lovingly depicted here. McRoy’s bumpy rhyme scheme, however, needs considerable work to do justice to her fantasy-driven, family-celebrating concept.
An unevenly executed rhyming tale that doesn’t quite realize its cozy potential.