Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story

Deborah Hopkinson, illus. by Steven Guarnaccia. Putnam, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25241-9
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 Hopkin­son 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.)
Reviewed on: 12/10/2012
Release date: 02/21/2013
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