The yarn gets knotty and tangled up in this tale of knitted happiness.
The village of River John in far northeastern Canada is filled with joy at the birth of a baby lamb. It brings visitors to the town, namely Count Woolliam and the Countess of Fleece and Fluff, siblings from Woolland. They want the lamb for their obsession with wool, which they use for everything from mittens to toilet paper. But they crave the warmth only for themselves, not their cold subjects. Another visitor to River John is the titular Polly, a recluse whose sweetheart died in a long-ago war and who crafts in every way possible using yarn. She has a very special project in mind, and only the wool from the lamb, named Star, can be used. The Count and Countess are convinced to leave Star with the villagers so that Polly and the local women can use its wool. The message is delivered via a homophone: there is love and wool enough for the whole world so share this “yarn” of a tale. The writing is overlong, overwrought, and overfull of alliteration and wordplay. Fitch adopts a storyteller’s voice, which could have carried it, but at its substantial length, the tale makes for a read-aloud challenge. A ribbon of blue and green winds through the pages, evoking the river, the fields, the knitting, and the whole wide world enveloped in wooly love.
Warmth and world peace, one stitch at a time, but there are a lot of stitches to go before readers get there. (Picture book. 5-8)