Provato Marketing and the author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you). It is available for sale here: Knit Your Bit
Steven Guarnaccia is the illustrator for this book and he does an excellent job showing the hair styles and clothing of that time period. You feel like you're really back there in that year.
The author takes this simple quest to knit for the soldiers and makes it into a contest between boys and girls. You see, Mikey has a big mouth and took a challenge from the girls and then hooked the other boys into participating. (Some boys are like that.)
If you have any doubts about whether this story is based on authenticity, the actual contest winners of long ago were: four blind women, two men, an eighty-three-year-old woman and four children under the age of 11!
Since I'm from Washington, I especially liked the info the author shows at the back of the book as reference material. If you've ever heard any of the old songs, you'll be singing along with this poem from the Seattle School Bulletin in May 1918:
Johnnie, get your yarn, get your yarn, get your yarn;
Knitting has a charm, has a charm, has a charm;
See us knitting two by two,
Boys in Seattle like it too.
Hurry every day, don't delay, make it pay.
Our laddies must be warm, not forlorn mid the storm.
Hear them call from o'er the sea,
"Make a sweater, please, for me."
Over here everywhere,
We are knitting for the boys over there;
It's a sock or a sweater, or even better,
to do your bit and knit a square.
Here's a history lesson in a picture book that I never learned about while growing up. Why not share it with your little one?
Thanks again to Deborah Hopkinson for appearing, for other stops on her Knit Your Bit Blog Tour please check www.deborahhopkinson.com