Synopses & Reviews
Widely acclaimed for her award-winning picture books, Deborah Hopkinson presents the amazing story of John A. Lomax, the fi rst man to popularize such great American folk songs as ?Sweet Betsy from Pike,? ?Git Along Little Dogies? and, of course, ?Home on the Range.?
When John was a boy in Texas, he wrote down all he?d learned from cowboys. Years later, with the encouragement of a beloved teacher, John set out on a cross-country trip to fi nd more songs for a book. Taking along his clunky Ediphone recording device, he convinced cowboys and Gypsies to sing for him and soon he had hundreds of songs preserved for generations to come.
S. D. Schindler?s gorgeous art brings the West alive in this inspiring story of discovery, which shows that if you love something as a child, you don?t have to give it up as an adult!
"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 HergÃ©, 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 HopkinÂson 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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“The bright telling is right at a kids level and captures both the specificity of the time and universality of human interactions. The authors 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 oldtime Sunday funnies, perfect for the story. Oversize and set on white backgrounds, the pictures keep the focus on the amiable characters. . . . A terrific yarn.”
FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:
“Hopkinson (A Boy Called Dickens) again gracefully mines history with this story
highlighting a patriotic civilian initiative during WWI . . . 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.”
FROM THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDRENS BOOKS:
“Hopkinsons text is snappy and engaging and her dialogue has just enough period flavor to be authentic while still resonating with modern kids . . . Guarnaccias pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations use muted tones and Lois Lenski-esque figures to successfully conjure a period look, and blond Mikey is a ruddy-cheeked, knickerbockered all-American boy of the nineteen-teens.”
FROM KIRKUS REVIEWS:
“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. Guarnaccias pen-and-ink-and-watercolor illustrations nicely evoke the fashions of the time period. Liberal use of white space focuses attention on the children . . . A fine entry in commemoration of the upcoming centennial of World War I.”
FROM HORN BOOK:
“Hopkinson provides readers with a glimpse into life on the World War I home front. . . . 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. Hopkinsons appended authors note provides more information about WWI and brings the war-relief effort into the twenty-first century, noting places that today accept knitted items for soldiers.”
Mikey’s dad has left home to fight overseas during World War I, and Mikey wants to do something BIG to help. When his teacher suggests that the class participate in a knitting bee in Central Park to knit clothing for the troops, Mikey and his friends roll their eyes—knitting is for girls! But when the girls turn it into a competition, the boys just have to meet the challenge.
Based on a real “Knit-In” event at Central Park in 1918, Knit Your Bit shows readers that making a lasting contribution is as easy as trying something new!
About the Author
Deborah Hopkinson lives in Corvallis, Oregon.
S. D. Schindler lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.