With grimly gritted grimace, have you ever forced yourself to thank a well-meant relative for a hideous gift?
Most kids at some point, realize that their reaction has an impact on the gift giver. It's a moment when empathy and self-control combine to create a conscious act of selflessness. Exploring this emotional milestone was my starting point for my now NYT-reviewed (!) LESTER'S DREADFUL SWEATERS.
Upon the arrival of a curious cousin whose home has met a dramatic end, the fastidious hero finds himself struggling to manage an onslaught of unsightly knitted gifts. And, as her demonic needles accelerate, we can't help but wonder if Cousin Clara's motives aren't a bit...well, less than benign.
For Cousin Clara, I owe thanks to my late great auntie Sissie who, while less sinister, did sport a moustache and a leg that didn't bend. Her Easter eggs were always the most modest, and arrived inexplicably inside coffee mugs.
But I always thanked her just the same, and (luckily for me), her cottage was never consumed by a crocodile.
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"If Edward Gorey and Polly Horvath had a literary lovechild, this would be it." Kirkus Starred Review.
"Kids are gonna chuckle at this one, even as they swear they don't know what happened to Grandma's last birthday gift." Ann Kelley for Booklist
"...older readers will thoroughly enjoy Campbell's canny blend of irony and sweet-heartedness". Publishers Weekly
"There is some understanding out there that a good first sentence is imperative to a children's novel. I would take that one step farther and say that it can do wonders for a picture book as well. Listen to how Campbell chooses to begin this book: "Cousin Clara's cottage was consumed by a crocodile. Luckily, Cousin Clara wasn't in it." It is surprising to find that this is Campbell's debut because his writing is remarkable....Folks like K.C. Campbell put a face on [kids'] grievances and give them hope that maybe they'll find a solution to their own problems. And with LESTER'S DREADFUL SWEATERS as a guide, there is hope for us all." Elizabeth Bird, Fuse #8 Production, School Library Journal blog
Lester's Dreadful Sweaters / K.G. Campbell / Kids Can Press
Price: $16.95 / ISBN: 978-1554537709 / Published: September, 2012
Ages 4-8 / Picture Book