The arrival of a new baby brings joy and always inspires me to break out my knitting needles. So it was this past weekend when my niece and her husband welcomed their third child, Vera. As I was putting the finishing touches on a frilly hat, I began thinking about picture books that spread the happiness a hand-knit gift brings.
Shall I Knit You a Hat (Macmillan, 2004) by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise begins with Mother Rabbit hearing the news of “a blizzard moving this way.” She immediately knits a hat to keep Little Rabbit’s ears warm. Kind-hearted Little Rabbit loves his hat so much he asks Mother Rabbit to make hats for all their friends.
The theme of spreading love and warmth through hand-knitted hats is extended to sweaters for all, including animals, houses, and trees, in Mac Barnett’s Extra Yarn (Blazer + Bray, 2012). Hidden in the simplicity of this Caldecott Honor book, illustrated by Jon Klassen, are deep ideas about generosity and the true worth of a loving spirit.
Much to the dismay of his captain, Ned, the Knitting Pirate, by Diana Murray and illustrated by Leslie Lammle (Macmillan, 2016), loves to knit. But when an sea monster attacks their ship, Ned’s hand-knit “blanket with the jolly roger crest” comforts the angry beast and saves the day.
These books share a sense of love and comfort that we sorely need right now. They are perfect read-alouds for inspiring generosity in young children.
My knitting also inspired this #haikuforhealing, part of Mary Lee Hahn’s December haiku project.
loops of spun softness
slip off quicksilver needles
cozy hat blossoms
© Catherine Flynn, 2016