The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater... That Grandma Knit

( 3 )

Overview

Cameron loves his grandmother. She knows just what makes him tick. That's why he can't figure out why Grandma would send him a sweater—a truly terribly horrible sweater—for his birthday.

Cameron pours mustard on his sweater. He puts it on his dog (in the rain). He even tries to send it to the thrift shop. But nothing works.

Now Grandma is coming for the holidays, and Cameron has to wear her gift to him. But ...

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Overview

Cameron loves his grandmother. She knows just what makes him tick. That's why he can't figure out why Grandma would send him a sweater—a truly terribly horrible sweater—for his birthday.

Cameron pours mustard on his sweater. He puts it on his dog (in the rain). He even tries to send it to the thrift shop. But nothing works.

Now Grandma is coming for the holidays, and Cameron has to wear her gift to him. But what's he going to say when she asks what he thinks about the sweater she made?

With a sure hand and a light touch, worldwide bestseller Debbie Macomber and her new writing partner, Mary Lou Carney, reveal that what Grandma knit into Cameron's sweater is the greatest gift of all.

Debbie and Mary Lou have included simple knitting instructions and an original knitting pattern for Cameron's sweater. You can find them at the back of this book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Young Cameron is counting on Grandma Susan to come through with a cool gift for his birthday. Instead, he gets a hideous sweater—one that defies all the boy's attempts at eradication (including donating it to the church rummage sale and dousing it in condiments). But Cameron changes his tune when Grandma explains the significance behind each of the colors in the sweater's lovingly stitched stripes (green commemorates a winning soccer goal, yellow signifies that he is “the sunshine of all our lives”). Macomber, a bestselling romance novelist making her picture book debut, and Carney (Tyler Timothy Bradford and the Birthday Surprise) do little to freshen up a chestnut premise—the narration feels like a well-intentioned youth sermon, and Cameron's efforts to rid himself of the sweater never gain comic momentum. Nguyen's (Gorilla Garage) characters tend toward a Plasticine quality reminiscent of the humans in the Toy Story movies, but his paintings pick up a considerable amount of energy and beauty whenever the story moves beyond its domestic confines. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)\
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Instead of the anticipated video game or remote-control car, Cameron's birthday gift from his grandmother turns out to be a hand-knit sweater in a pattern of red, green, yellow, blue, and orange stripes. Vowing never to wear it, he tries many ways to get rid of the detested garment—such as hiding it in his closet or adding it to a rummage sale box—but is thwarted at every turn by his well-meaning parents. When Grandma visits at Christmas, Cameron must finally don the dreaded garment. His grandmother lovingly explains to him how each color represents a quality she admires in her grandson, and Cameron begins to appreciate that this one-of-a-kind item was made with an enormous amount of love. Indeed, he realizes he would be proud to wear it "for a very long time." Full-color, soft-edged illustrations depict characters with nearly identical, startled-looking eyes that pop and will probably be less disconcerting to children than adults. The resolution is predictable, but the story is humorously engaging and imparts a timeless lesson. Knitting instructions and a pattern for Cameron's sweater are included.—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
Kirkus Reviews
Macomber, a bestselling author for adults, and Carney join forces for an amusing story about a boy who receives a handmade, striped sweater as a birthday gift from his grandmother. Cameron hates the sweater with a passion due to its vibrant colors and large buttons. He tries to put his sweater on the dog, hide it, give it away and ruin it with stains, but finally he has to wear it when Grandma comes to visit. She explains that she chose each color for a specific memory of her grandson, and Cameron changes his mind and decides the sweater looks fine after all. This resulting change of heart seems awfully adult for an opinionated little boy, and his grandmother's explanation of her color choices will be a bit too sticky-sweet for many kids (and some parents). Nguyen's illustrations have a surrealistic feeling, with a dark, moody palette, shadowy backgrounds and oddly robotic eyes for the characters. Final pages include instructions for knitting and a pattern for the striped sweater. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061650932
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/29/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 392,213
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber has more than 100 million copies of her books in print, and her stories about home and family have a worldwide audience and have been translated into twenty-three languages. In addition to being a #1 New York Times bestseller in fiction many times over, she also has an enormous following among knitters as the author of dozens of pattern and craft books. In 2008, she launched a branded line of knitting products through Leisure Arts, the company that publishes her knitting guides. Debbie and her husband, Wayne, have four children and nine grandchildren, and split their time between Washington State and Florida. This is Debbie’s second picture book co-authored with Mary Lou Carney; their first, The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweaer . . . That Grandma Knit, was published in 2009.

Vincent Nguyen is not a knitter, but he is a painter, an illustrator, and an artist for feature films large and small. Originally from Houston, Texas, he moved to New York to attend the School of Visual Arts. He currently lives in New York City, where he works as a concept artist for Blue Sky Studios. He has illustrated several books, but this is his first for HarperCollins.

Mary Lou Carney is the editor of two magazines for young people—Guideposts for Teens and Guideposts for Kids. She is the author of several picture books for the Christian and educational markets, including Bubble Gum & Chalk Dust: Prayers and Poems for Teachers, and Absolutely Angels: Poems for Children and Other Believers (Boyds Mills Press). This is Mary Lou’s second picture book coauthored with Debbie; their first, The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweaer . . . That Grandma Knit, was published in 2009.

Biography

Publishing did not come easy to self-described "creative speller" Debbie Macomber. When Macomber decided to follow her dreams of becoming a bestselling novelist, she had a lot of obstacles in her path. For starters, Macomber is dyslexic. On top of this, she had only a high school degree, four young children at home, and absolutely no connections in the publishing world. If there's one thing you can say about Debbie Macomber, however, it is that she does not give up. She rented a typewriter and started writing, determined to break into the world of romance fiction.

The years went on and the rejection letters piled up. Her family was living on a shoestring budget, and Debbie was beginning to think that her dreams of being a novelist might never be fulfilled. She began writing for magazines to earn some extra money, and she eventually saved up enough to attend a romance writer's conference with three hundred other aspiring novelists. The organizers of the conference picked ten manuscripts to review in a group critique session. Debbie was thrilled to learn that her manuscript would be one of the novels discussed.

Her excitement quickly faded when an editor from Harlequin tore her manuscript to pieces in front of the crowded room, evoking peals of laughter from the assembled writers. Afterwards, Macomber approached the editor and asked her what she could do to improve her novel. "Throw it away," the editor suggested.

Many writers would have given up right then and there, but not Macomber. The deeply religious Macomber took a lesson from Job and gathered strength from adversity. She returned home and mailed one last manuscript to Silhouette, a publisher of romance novels. "It cost $10 to mail it off," Macomber told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2000. "My husband was out of work at this time, in Alaska, trying to find a job. The children and I were living on his $250-a-week unemployment, and I can't tell you what $10 was to us at that time."

It turned out to be the best $10 Macomber ever spent. In 1984, Silhouette published her novel, Heartsong. (Incidentally, although Heartsong was Macomber's first sale, she actually published another book, Starlight, before Heartsong went to print.) Heartsong went on to become the first romance novel to ever be reviewed in Publishers Weekly, and Macomber was finally on her way.

Today, Macomber is one of the most widely read authors in America. A regular on the New York Times bestseller charts, she is best known for her Cedar Cove novels, a heartwarming story sequence set in a small town in Washington state, and for her Knitting Books series, featuring a group of women who patronize a Seattle yarn store. In addition, her backlist of early romances, including several contemporary Westerns, has been reissued with great success.

Macomber has made a successful transition from conventional romance to the somewhat more flexible genre known as "women's fiction." "I was at a point in my life where I found it difficult to identify with a 25-year-old heroine," Macomber said in an interview with ContemporaryRomanceWriters.com. "I found that I wanted to write more about the friendships women share with each other." To judge from her avid, ever-increasing fan base, Debbie's readers heartily approve.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Macomber:

"I'm dyslexic, although they didn't have a word for it when I was in grade school. The teachers said I had 'word blindness.' I've always been a creative speller and never achieved good grades in school. I graduated from high school but didn't have the opportunity to attend college, so I did what young women my age did at the time -- I married. I was a teenager, and Wayne and I (now married nearly 37 years) had four children in five years."

"I'm a yarnaholic. That means I have more yarn stashed away than any one person could possibly use in three or four lifetimes. There's something inspiring about yarn that makes me feel I could never have enough. Often I'll go into my yarn room (yes, room!) and just hold skeins of yarn and dream about projects. It's a comforting thing to do."

"My office walls are covered with autographs of famous writers -- it's what my children call my ‘dead author wall.' I have signatures from Mark Twain, Earnest Hemingway, Jack London, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Pearl Buck, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, to name a few."

"I'm morning person, and rip into the day with a half-mile swim (FYI: a half mile is a whole lot farther in the water than it is on land) at the local pool before I head into the office, arriving before eight. It takes me until nine or ten to read through all of the guest book entries from my web site and the mail before I go upstairs to the turret where I do my writing. Yes, I write in a turret -- is that romantic, or what? I started blogging last September and really enjoy sharing bits and pieces of my life with my readers. Once I'm home for the day, I cook dinner, trying out new recipes. Along with cooking, I also enjoy eating, especially when the meal is accompanied by a glass of good wine. Wayne and I take particular pleasure in sampling eastern Washington State wines (since we were both born and raised in that part of the state).

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    1. Hometown:
      Port Orchard, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 22, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Yakima, Washington
    1. Education:
      Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good to read out loud

    This is a wonderful book for a knitting grandma to give her grandchild and read it to them as well. I love Debbie anyway but this was made for me as I do knit and I do so for my grandchild. It is good for any child but especially for one who gets hand made things.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2009

    A really great story for children

    As usual Debbie puts out a great book. My kids and Grandchildren are too old for it, but I got it to read and keep for when I have great grandchilden. The story and the illustrations were oh so good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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