Available Copies: Downtown Youth PicBks, Pittsfield Youth PicBks, Traverwood Youth PicBks, West Youth Picture Books
When Lester's mysterious cousin Clara comes to stay with his family she insists on knitting him ugly sweaters and Lester must figure out how to accept the unwanted gifts without hurting his cousin's feelings.
Such a bizarre little book! But I liked it. It was pretty weird. But I loved the sad little story of poor Lester receiving these dreadful sweaters. And I loved that in the end he was able to find a use for them. So cute!
Lester is very particular about his appearance – his socks must be even and his hair combed just so – but when Cousin Clara comes to stay and knits him horrendous sweater after horrendous sweater, Lester becomes the laughingstock of his class. This picture book takes full advantage of its humorous premise, and the sweaters depicted in the illustrations are truly, laugh-out-loud dreadful. An excellent use of white space, muted backgrounds and dramatic viewpoints help to capture the humor. Readers will gleefully turn pages to see just how dreadful Lester’s next sweater will be and what means he will devise to destroy it. Indeed, the illustrations carry such a punch that the text sometimes dampers the humor by trying to describe what the illustrations more effectively show. Otherwise, the text is careful crafted with copious amounts of alliteration and subtle humor. Young readers may have trouble catching all the subtleties, such as Lester’s “curiously bad luck with sweaters” not being bad luck at all, but fortunately, one does not have to get all of these subtleties to appreciate the story.