cover image The Knitting of Elizabeth Amelia

The Knitting of Elizabeth Amelia

Patricia Lee Gauch, , illus. by Barbara Lavallee. . Holt, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6535-0

Gauch (the Tanya books), in an unusual but touching story, introduces a girl whose mother knits her out of wool “just the way she wanted her,” giving her “a sky-blue petticoat that she never had to take off.” As Elizabeth Amelia grows, she goes off to school, is universally beloved for her softness and bounce, and eventually marries. Only then, without children, does she feel a void. Using a piece of yarn unraveling from her foot, Elizabeth Amelia knits a baby, then “borrows” yarn from other parts of her own body to knit three more. Readers may find the now legless woman's shrinking physique alarming (“You're nothing but a pillow!” exclaims her husband). With the support and help of her family, though, she knits replacement body parts so she can again dance and do “a great many things... that she hadn't done before”). Though the story is admittedly strange, Lavallee's (Grandma Calls Me Beautiful ) stylized and exuberant watercolors embody the joy that comes from giving of oneself (sometimes literally) and of getting it right back. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)