Knitting for Dogs by Laurel Molk

Knitting for Dogs by Laurel Molk. Random House Studio, 2022. 9780593434581

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?  Izzy is a medium-sized girl with big ideas. She’s a DIY pro, building birdhouses, a wooden swing, and even a tennis ball catapult for her large-sized dog, Max. Now she’s tackling knitting and manages to create a hat and a scarf, but sweater production is a bit more difficult. All the ones she produces are too big, too small, or woefully lopsided. Frustration turns to inspiration when she chops the offending garment down to fit Max; soon all the local dogs are putting in their orders and we get to see the entire neighborhood frolicking in striped tubes and matching leg warmers. Molk’s adorable watercolors, with pen-and-ink accents, alternate between action vignettes and full page bleeds; all detail the craft of knitting, its frustrations, and the warm, goofy relationship between the two buddies. This was a really cute and satisfying story about creativity and tenacity. Izzy has white skin and stick-straight black hair, while Max resembles a pitbull mix with brown fur and white socks. A simple scarf pattern is included at the back of the book.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I’m a knitter, so I was a bit mystified that Izzy kept making sweaters without a pattern and that she chopped the sleeves off to make Max’s outfit (everything would have unraveled). Non-knitting readers ages 4-8 will probably not be bothered by these details.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Dog lovers and DIY dreamers. This could pair nicely with Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett for a knitting-themed storytime or with The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires for a read aloud about inventing and surviving setbacks.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: January 9, 2023

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