by Leda Schubert
illustrated by Andrea U'Ren
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010
review copy provided by the publisher
This is a seemingly simple story with lots going on. A great book to read and re-read, over and over.
On one level, it's the story of how a sweater gets made, from the feeding of the sheep, to the shearing, cleaning, drying, carding, spinning, dying, and finally the knitting.
It's also a story with satisfying repetition. "What are you doing?" the little girl asks, over and over again, and her mother patiently tells her each time.
It's is a story that has a rhyming phrase on every page of text: "Snowy day, corn and hay," when the sheep are being fed; "Deepest blue, messy brew," when the wool is being dyed.
There are lots of parallel stories going on in the pictures of this book -- what are the dog and cat doing? Is the crow in every picture? Does the little girl ever slow down and rest? (Yes, and the reader takes a deep cleansing breath along with the mother in the full page spread midway through the book where dog, cat and little girl are all quietly napping!)
And this is a story about farm life throughout the seasons. Careful attention to the details in the pictures reveals that the seasons are changing from winter to spring, summer, and fall. It's snowing again by the time the little girl is wearing her new sweater and feeding the sheep for herself.
Like I said, seemingly simple, but with LOTS going on. Dare you to read through it just once!!