90+/100 (9.0+ out of 10)
How does Tuula Pere do it? How does she come up with these ideas?
Time after time after time, Tuula Pere keeps sharing these surprisingly deep and complex children's books that break the traditional constraints of the genre.
In A Special Sweater, Pere explores concepts like creativity, innovation, resourcefulness, self-determination, and even entrepreneurship! The book follows Eddy, a little boy who develops a passion for knitting. His passion goes largely unsupported by his family members, most of whom find it odd and/or unlikely to be profitable. They severely underestimate Eddy's commitment and dedication to this craft.
Eddy, inspired by some fashion designer magazines, sets out on a mission to create a designer sweater of his own. Lacking quality supplies and denied the funds to purchase them, Eddy improvises and shows his resourcefulness and ingenuity, taking advantage of some old, forgotten yarn that was left behind from other projects.
Slowly but surely, the sweater comes along. Even when certain colors of yarn run out, Eddy trudges on, using new colors of yarn. His family members go from being uninterested to being curious, even spying on him why he makes the sweater.
At last, the sweater is done, and it's both humorous and inspiring.
Now, with all that said, this might be the weaker of the four Tuula Pere books this season. Strangely, it's not art quality that's the issue. Similar to You Can Fly, Little Bird, it's bizarrely challenging to read due to the size and formatting of the text. It's incredibly small. Exacerbating the problem, the author decided to use some kind of cartoonish font akin to comic sans. Furthermore, the font color is black. It doesn't stand out well against the mostly-gray backdrop. Also, the first letter of every page is capitalized, a dyslexic person's nightmare.
The other thing that was kind of strange to us was that this book ended somewhat anticlimactically. You'd think the family would've come around to realizing how impressive Eddie and his efforts are, but instead it seems like they continue to look down on him and make fun of him. One of them even says his sweater (which is multi-colored and wonky looking) makes him “look like a parrot.” Eddie simply responds that he likes parrots. Now, this does somewhat match the themes of self-determination and self-confidence, but it does seem like a kinda flat ending to an interesting story.
We don't want to completely turn you away from this book because these issues weren't major enough to get it to rate under a 9/10. It's just notable.
This is the way many business get started. It had us thinking of Daymond John, the founder of Fubu, who started his clothing line in his garage in almost an identical way!
Check this out on Amazon!
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