I remember distinctly my very favourite nightdress. It was pink and ohhh so soft with short ruffled sleeves and a pretty bow at the rounded neckline. When I wore them, 7-year-old Me imagined being a princess in some fairy tale land. If I could have, I would have worn those pyjamas every single night but they did need to be washed from time to time and on those nights I was left to don the “other ones” that sat pristinely folded in my top drawer; the ones with the long flannel sleeves and the too-tight cuffs, the elastic waistband that pinched my sides and made me feel too hot while I tried desperately to dream away the night under my favourite blanket. And then, when my daughter came along and refused to wear anything with collars or long sleeves, I understood completely! Yep, we all have those pieces of clothing that we love to wear and others that eventually make it to the donation bag. These were the thoughts that came flooding back when I first read my copy of Sweater written and illustrated by award-winning author Emily Hepditch.
Sweater is the delightful story of a school-aged boy named Alexander who has been gifted a home-knit sweater by his loving Grandma. Alexander isn’t entirely pleased with this new present and has second thoughts when his parents think it would be a great idea to wear this thoughtful gift to school for picture day. As expected, his day at school with his new sweater does not go well and just when he thinks he needs to tell his Nan that the sweater is too itchy, too big and too warm, the unexpected happens and Alexander realizes that this gift of love truly does have some unintended benefits.
Author of two best-selling novels The Woman In The Attic and Alone On The Trail, Sweater is Emily Hepditch’s first children’s illustrated book. This fictional story intended mostly for children aged 3-7 is simply written with an engaging storyline. Emergent readers (and their parents!) will easily identify with and relate to the character Alexander and will understand the conundrum in which he finds himself. After all, who hasn’t been the recipient of a well-intentioned homemade gift that doesn’t seem to fit just right? Hepditch does an excellent job at having the illustrations and text work together to tell the story. The pictures are well placed and allow young readers to contextualize the story by giving visual cues to the words on the page. The illustrations are colourful and simple and the pages are presented in a clean and clutter-free manner, clearly depicting the emotions of the character and the well-paced story. As a new illustrator of children’s picture books, I was impressed with Hepditch’s work and felt the style was well suited to the story. I particularly liked the intricate sensory details of the cable knit sweater and the “warm woolly mittens” and blanket.
Sweater is a timeless story to be enjoyed by both children and their caregivers. It is a reminder that those “soft” presents we often receive (and sometimes dread) are extensions of the special people in our lives who give them. Hats off to Emily Hepditch and her first foray into the world of Children’s Literature…a talented young writer AND illustrator!
Emily Hepditch is an award-winning author from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. In 2020, her debut novel, The Woman in the Attic, was published by Flanker Press and quickly became the #1 bestselling book in Newfoundland and Labrador. Since its release, the book has remained on the Atlantic Books Today top five bestsellers list. Emily’s second thriller, Alone on the Trail, is also an ABT top-five bestseller. Sweater is her first children’s illustrated book.
- Publisher : Flanker Press Ltd. (March 4 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 32 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1774570726
- ISBN-13 : 978-1774570722
Stephanie Collins is a retired school administrator and teacher from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. A lover of literature and an avid reader, Stephanie loves travelling, outdoor activities, and riding shotgun in her RV or on the back of a motorcycle. Stephanie enjoys writing about her travels, reviewing new titles, and is an aspiring children’s book writer. Her reviews can be found at Fireside Collections and you can follow her on Twitter @MrsCollinsNL.