Children’s books are a great cultural barometer, I find. If there’s something in the water, it will probably spill over into a kids’ book. So when I spotted that Hot Key Books had published two books recently, one on a sewing theme and the other about boys and knitting I thought, Hey! This is a big deal! I also thought, Hey! I’m gonna get them to send me copies to review!
So, I’m going to start with Boys Don’t Knit. Great title, great cover, great premise. A boy gets in trouble and has to choose his punishment. He chooses knitting classes because he fancies the teacher. Written in diary format (Adrian Mole, anyone?) it’s very entertaining, with lots of knitting detail and research. I don’t think I could claim this is true crossover, appealing to adults just as much as children. But I love the concept, and I love that it exists as a book. If you know a 12+ boy or girl who likes the sound of a funny book with a knitting vibe, this is the one for you. I’m not sure I’d have typed that sentence a few years ago.
The Midnight Dress came to me because most of my publishing friends have now cottoned on to the fact that I am also an obsessive seamstress. ‘I’ve read a book you’d love,’ an author told me recently. ‘It’s called The Midnight Dress.’ This is a Young Adult story of Rose and her father, arriving in Queensland. The local dressmaker (and rumoured witch) makes Rose a dress for the Harvest Parade, but only on the condition that Rose will do her a favour in return. It’s a tense, but beautiful narrative:
The thread makes a soft noise in the taffeta. Ah yes, it says, again and again.
This is a beautiful and unusual novel and I LOVE to see the unusual published. I’d happily recommend this one to adult readers, as long as they enjoy a touch of magic realism.
But if you’re looking for a true adult novel on a sewing theme, that will make your toes curl in delight, watch this space. A review soon to come on a very special novel indeed, sneak peek below. Can anyone guess who’s wearing that pink suit on the cover?