Meet Stanley, a cat slightly-less-ordinary with a passion for knitting!
Stanley knocks up pom-poms at breakfast time, whips up bobble hats at bath time. He even knits in his sleep! And what does Stanley do with his amazing knits? He gives them to his friends of course.
But when Stanley gets carried away with his dream of winning the Woolly Wonders Competition he has to decide what’s more important – his knitting or his friends.
My daughters and I loved Emily MacKenzie’s debut picture book, Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar and so I was very excited to receive a copy of Emily’s new book, Stanley the Amazing Kniiting Cat.
I was fortunate enough to see Emily speak at the YLG conference in October and one of the things she talked about was her love of colour and inky illustrations. That is gloriously evident in this book – from the squiggly lines on the endpapers that look like wild, unraveled yarn to the fabulous accessories Stanley knits for his friends – colour is liberally and joyfully applied throughout. This is one of those books that makes you smile just to look at it.
The story presents a dilemma that will be familiar to readers young and old – what do you do if a brilliant opportunity comes your way but making the most of it will upset your friends? Stanley is a very thoughtful cat – he has numerous animal friends and over time he has knitted countless items for them:
However one day Stanley sees a poster advertising the “Woolly Wonders Competition” – the chance to create a spectacular design and really show off what he can do. Stanley immediately sets to work but the day before the competition disaster strikes and he runs out of wool – and this is where the dilemma begins:
Stanley decides to unravel everything he has made for his friends so that he has enough wool to complete his creation, leaving them feeling cold and unhappy. Fortunately he realises what he has done and makes amends -taking his friends on a ride in his spectacular knitted hot air balloon, winning the competition in the process and then knitting more glorious gifts than ever before.
This book is bright and bold and enables children to explore questions of friendship and responsibility, using lovable, familiar animals. My children love the illustrations and also particularly like repeating the sounds of the knitting needles as Stanley works on his masterpiece – “clickety-knit! Twirly-twist! Pom-Pom-pull! Clackety-click!”
Like Ralfy Rabbit, this has been another big hit in my house and we look forward to seeing what Emily MacKenzie comes up with next.