Reviews for Knit Your Bit : A World War I Story


Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
*Starred Review* With WWI raging, everyone at home is expected to do their bit. Mikey and his sister Ellie want to help; Mikey is hoping to do something big. That most certainly does not include knitting (Boys don't knit!). Even after Ellie shows him a picture of firemen knitting, Mikey refuses. But a knit-in with prizes in Central Park draws the boys of Miss Robin's class into a contest against the Purl Girls. Let the knitting commence. The day of the contest finds Mikey in the park, trying to finish a pair of socks--but a hole in the second sock means ripping it down and losing the contest. However, a chance encounter with a one-legged soldier gives the single sock a home and offers Mikey a more rounded vision of what it means to help. Hopkinson reached back into history to come up with this golden nugget: during WWI, women, children--and men--took up knitting when it was discovered soldiers didn't have enough hats, scarves, and socks. The bright telling is right at a kid's level and captures both the specificity of the time and universality of human interactions. The author's note (bolstered by an image of a contemporaneous poster) puts the fiction in solid historical context. Guarnaccia has chosen to illustrate in a style reminiscent of old-time Sunday funnies, which is perfect for the story. Oversize and set on white backgrounds, the pictures keep the focus on the amiable characters. The story ends by reminding readers they can still knit for today's soldiers. A terrific yarn. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
His mother and sister are knitting for the troops; asked to join them, Mikey proclaims: "No way! Boys don't knit." Then Mikey's teacher encourages students to participate in the Central Park Knitting Bee, and Mikey enlists his fellow boys. Heavy on olive and khaki, the illustrations indicate the WWI setting but also capitalize on white space, giving readers room to consider the book's themes.

----------------------
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #1
Hopkinson provides readers with a glimpse into life on the World War I home front. When his father goes off to war, young Mikey wants to "do something big to help." His mother and sister are knitting socks, hats, and mufflers for the troops, but when asked to join them Mikey proclaims: "No way! Boys don't knit." At school, Mikey's teacher encourages all the students to participate in the Central Park Knitting Bee, and Mikey, spurred by the girls' taunts ("I bet you're scared you can't learn"), enlists his fellow boys to take up the challenge. No, they don't become world-class knitters; during the contest, Mikey knits his best sock ever but drops a stitch before completing its pair. He then meets a wounded warrior who has lost his left leg and who encourages Mikey to keep at it: "if we each do a little, it makes something big." Clearly we have a recipient for Mikey's single sock, but also a reminder of the real costs of war. The illustrations' muted hues, heavy on olive and khaki, indicate times past, but Guarnaccia also capitalizes on white space, giving readers room to consider the times and themes presented here. Hopkinson's appended author's note provides more information about WWI and brings the war-relief effort into the twenty-first century, noting places that today [Thu Aug 21 16:07:29 2014] enhancedContent.pl: Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\enhancedContent.pl line 249. accept knitted items for soldiers. betty carter

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #1
Even boys can knit, when it's for their fathers fighting overseas. It's World War I, and Mikey's dad is in the Army. His mother and sister are busy knitting warm garments, but Mikey won't help. "No way! Boys don't knit." Then his teacher encourages the class to participate in an upcoming Central Park Knitting Bee. It's the Purl Girls vs. the Boys' Knitting Brigade. Mikey, the "sergeant of socks," and his two friends practice their stitches. On the day of the bee, he marches his troops to a bench and commences the battle. The boys don't knit too well in spite of their earnest concentration. Mikey despairs of finishing his project--a pair of socks--until an encounter with a disabled veteran gives him a more sensitive perspective on war. As in previous titles, Hopkinson was inspired by an actual event, creating a fast-paced narrative sure to appeal to children today. E-communication has long outstripped snail mail, but the loneliness and the worry of families left behind will still resonate. Guarnaccia's pen-and-inkā€“and-watercolor illustrations nicely evoke the fashions of the time period. Liberal use of white space focuses attention on the children and their earnest if awkward stitchery. A fine entry in commemoration of the upcoming centennial of World War I. (author's note, Web resources.) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

----------------------
Library Media Connection Reviews 2013 August/September
Based on an actual event, this poignant story captures the emotional ups and downs of a family at home during World War I. Mikey's father is away at war and his mother and sister support the soldiers by knitting socks and hats, but Mikey won't participate because "knitting is for girls." But he is goaded into entering the "Boys' Knitting Brigade" and a chance meeting with an injured soldier shows Mikey that small things can make a big difference. Mikey is an endearing blend of boyish chutzpah and sincerity. His facial expressions capture these changing emotions perfectly and greatly enhance the text. Guarnaccia's illustrations are lively and colorful, with an airy feeling to the layouts. The text includes an author's note, information on current Knit Your Bit opportunities, and two Web links. Hopkinson again uses a small slice of life to open a window on history. Amy Hart, Head of Bibliographic Services, Minuteman Library Network, Natick, Massachusetts. RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #2

Hopkinson (A Boy Called Dickens) again gracefully mines history with this story highlighting a patriotic civilian initiative during WWI. After Pop goes overseas, Mikey scoffs at helping Mama and his sister knit clothing for soldiers: "Boys don't knit," he says. "Besides, I want to do something big to help." But after his teacher announces a knitting competition to benefit soldiers (based on an actual "Knit-In" held in New York City's Central Park in 1918), Mikey and two friends accept a boys vs. girls challenge to win the knitting bee. With a hint of Hergé, Guarnaccia (The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale) contributes clean, understated cartoons that humorously convey the boys' determination and frustration as they tackle their knitting projects. Even Mikey's mixed results (he knits one perfect sock but botches its mate) work out in the end. Closing notes provide additional background, and HopkinĀ­son brings the cause into the present, suggesting resources for information about current knitting efforts for soldiers and veterans. An enlightening piece of historical fiction that drives home the idea that every little bit helps. Ages 5-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

K-Gr 3--When his father leaves for World War I, Mikey wants to do something big to help. His teacher tells the class about a Knitting Bee in Central Park where volunteers will make hats, scarves, and socks to send to soldiers. At first Mikey dismisses the idea as too girly and too insignificant, but then pours his enthusiasm into the project when the effort becomes a competition between the girls and the boys. He becomes frustrated when he has trouble learning the stitches, but realizes that no contribution is too small when he meets a soldier who has lost a leg and gives him the one sock he has managed to finish. The story is a wonderful expression of emotions. Mikey's face is determined and funny at the same time, and his perseverance and the positive attitudes shown by all the children are timely reminders about the satisfaction to be had in reaching beyond oneself. The old-fashioned look of the pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations is well suited to the narrative. The warmth and humor found in the pictures lighten the tone and keep the story from becoming too serious. Combine this book, Mac Barnett's Extra Yarn (HarperCollins, 2012), and a fiber art project to make a thoughtful and cozy winter storytime session.--Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

[Page 112]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

----------------------