Jeremy didn't know what to expect as he opened the birthday present from his forgetful Aunt Alice. Inside he finds a muffler that was knit from three miles of yarn. Although the muffler is enormous and awkward, Jeremy's mother insists that he wear it. Wearing the muffler turns out to be quite a challenge. Jeremy's muffler gets caught on everything and becomes the object of many jokes. When his attempts to lose the muffler fail, Jeremy realizes that he will be stuck wearing the muffler until spring arrives. While contemplating his plight, Jeremy witnesses a near tragedy. While skating on a partially thawed river, Jeremy's friend Elise falls through a crack in the ice and is struggling in the cold, dark water. In a split second, Jeremy knows just what to do. By throwing the muffler out to Elise, Jeremy saves her from drowning. He becomes the town hero, and the muffler becomes a possession of value. The facial expressions in the illustrations help us to feel the emotions of the characters and bystanders in the story. This story is sure to appeal to children and adults as well.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-A bit contrived, this story is still fun as a sort of modern-day tall tale. Jeremy's eccentric Aunt Alice knits him a muffler from three miles of yarn, and his mother makes him wear it so he won't hurt his aunt's feelings. When he is wound up in it he looks like the Michelin Tire Man in green, purple, and orange stripes. Jeremy has nothing but problems with the scarf; he tries to ``lose'' it, but people keep returning it to him. Eventually, he becomes a hero, using it to rescue a girl who has fallen through the ice. Statues are made in his honor and similar mufflers become a fashion trend. Finally, the local museum asks him to donate it, and he is free of it. Schneider's paintings ably illustrate and support the humor of the story. They are slightly skewed and off-center as befits the screwball absurdity of the tale. Nielsen is not quite the yarn spinner of a James Stevenson or Steven Kellogg, but she's on her way.-Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library
Jeremy's aunt means well when she makes him a muffler for his birthday, but she forgets to stop knitting. He doesn't want to hurt her feelings, so he's forced to wear the yards and yards of yarn. The muffler trips him up, gets caught in doors, and makes him the butt of everybody's jokes. He tries to lose the thing, but everyone recognizes it and is very helpful in returning it to him. Then one day the muffler saves someone from drowning, and Jeremy's a hero. Best of all, he gets to donate the muffler to a museum. The gouache illustrations in bright, simple shapes play with the affectionate farce of the story. Jeremy does look like a rolling klutz with the yards of muffler wound and wound around him; all you can see of him is his desperate expressive face, scowling and trapped. In their first book, the author and illustrator have given kids a lighthearted story about the embarrassing clutter we have to carry around.