The Knitting of Elizabeth Amelia

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Elizabeth Amelia was made of wool. Her mother knitted her just the way she wanted her: soft and cuddly and bouncy! Everyone loved her. After Elizabeth Amelia got married, she wanted a child of her own. But how could she decide which yarn was right for her baby? Then one day she comes up with a most surprising solution.

In the tradition of familiar stories like The Gingerbread Man, this original folktale brings to life a delightful character in ...

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Overview

Elizabeth Amelia was made of wool. Her mother knitted her just the way she wanted her: soft and cuddly and bouncy! Everyone loved her. After Elizabeth Amelia got married, she wanted a child of her own. But how could she decide which yarn was right for her baby? Then one day she comes up with a most surprising solution.

In the tradition of familiar stories like The Gingerbread Man, this original folktale brings to life a delightful character in a tale full of good humor and warmth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“With humor and a dash of wisdom, this allegorical tale examines the transforming nature of parenthood, in both its positive and negative aspects.”—Kirkus Reviews

“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.”—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
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.)\
Children's Literature - Debby Willett
Elizabeth Amelia's mother wanted a baby to cuddle and love, and not having one, she went to the attic and found some special wool in a trunk and knitted a beautiful baby. She was so soft even the cat liked to sleep with Elizabeth Amelia at night. Her mother would hum to her, and bounce her, and when she took her out, others wanted to hold Elizabeth Amelia she was so soft and cuddly. Eventually she grew old enough to attend school and went to the dances. Because Elizabeth Amelia was so soft and had so much bounce, the boys at school would line up just to be able to dance with her. Then she met James Elmer, and they loved to dance together and take walks in the woodsy woods. The best part was James Elmer loved wool, and he loved Elizabeth Amelia. She created the woolliest home in town with wool rugs, lamps, and doors. The only thing missing was children and since Elizabeth Amelia loved wool, she searched for the perfect wool to knit a sweet baby. Using a loose strand from her own left foot, Elizabeth Amelia knitted a baby girl and named her True. Then she knitted a baby boy, and named him Bounce. Then she knitted a set of twins, January and February. All the wool came from her legs, so she could not leave her rocking chair. Her husband, James Elmer loved her so much; he had to find more wool so Elizabeth Amelia would be back to her bouncy self. Painted in transparent watercolor, the illustrations are bright and very colorful, sure to catch the eye of young children. This is an imaginative story of how a mother's longing for children was creatively solved. Young children should be entertained by the idea of a family of knitted children and the very colorful illustrations. Reviewer:Debby Willett
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Elizabeth Amelia is made of wool, but she is every child. She romps and plays and goes to school. Everyone loves her. When she grows up, she marries James Elmer, a man who "loved wool." They don't have any children, so Elizabeth Amelia takes a stray piece of yarn unraveling from her left foot and starts knitting them. Soon she has four. She keeps unraveling pieces of herself to make clothes and things for her offspring. When she has knitted most of herself away, her husband says, "Elizabeth Amelia….You're nothing but a pillow!'' One of the children then finds a ball of yarn the same color as her mother and saves the day. Elizabeth Amelia soon re-knits all of herself and the family dances together again. The delightful watercolor illustrations resemble folk art, and are detailed and colorful. All of the faces are two-toned, with a line going down the center. Still, seeing Elizabeth's legs disappear and then reappear is just plain creepy. Kids will get a mixed message from this one.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI\
Kirkus Reviews
A whimsical original fairy tale about motherhood. When Elizabeth Amelia's mother discovers a ball of yarn in the attic, she knits a woollen baby. With wry ingenuity, Gauch describes the perks of a yarn child: She's bouncy, she washes well and she is warm-both in spirit and person. After her marriage, Elizabeth Amelia longs for a child of her own. Unable to find just the right yarn to use, she unravels just a bit of her own wool to knit a baby girl. Four children later, Elizabeth Amelia has undone herself until she is almost all gone: "Elizabeth Amelia," exclaims her husband. "You're nothing but a pillow!" With her family's encouragement, the irrepressible Elizabeth Amelia re-knits herself into a new creation, complete with crimson shoes so she and her husband can go dancing again. Lavallee's watercolor illustrations, featuring an array of rich hues, are a natural extension of the tale. Her detailed pictures neatly capture the folksy nature of the story. With humor and a dash of wisdom, this allegorical tale examines the transforming nature of parenthood, in both its positive and negative aspects. (Picture book. 4-8)\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805065350
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/29/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

PATRICIA LEE GAUCH is the award-winning author of more than forty books for young readers. She lives in Hyde Park, New York.

BARBARA LAVALLEE has illustrated many favorite books for children, including the bestselling Mama, Do You Love Me? She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

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