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Chicks with Sticks (It's a Purl Thing) Hardcover – September 22, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10–When Scotties great-aunt teaches her to knit, the 15-year-old is hooked. At KnitWit, a funky store relatively close to her Chicago home, she makes an assortment of friends. The girls take the Stark School by storm, knitting during their lunch periods and study sessions. They bond over joys and trials, each struggling with adolescent issues and with their works in progress. Scottie yearns to get closer to her artsy parents, who want to see their daughter as a fiber artist; Bella would like to be a little more rebellious; Tay wants her male friend to see her as a girlfriend; and popular Amanda struggles to hide her learning disability. These are lovable, flawed characters, and their story will be enjoyed by many girls. Project instructions are included.–Delia Carruthers, Sunset Ridge Middle School, West Jordan, UT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 6--9. You don't have to be a knitter to love this book, but it helps. Readers unfamiliar with the craft will still find plenty to like. Scottie, trying to get over the death of a beloved aunt and a disruption in her relationship with her best friend, Amanda, stumbles across KnitWit, a knit shop whose owner, Alice, teaches her to knit and sooths her with just the right yarn. To Scottie's relief and delight, Amanda discovers knitting, too, and so do two very different girls from their private school--biracial Bella, whose good cheer is disdained by the cool kids, and punky Tay, whose knitting is fueled by anger. Lenhard does a terrific job of individualizing the characters (only Scottie's parents come across as stereotypes), and she also comes up with some interesting plotlines. As for the knitting, there's plenty. The descriptions may deter some, but they might just as easily entice a few readers to knit (four patterns are included). Pair with Jessie Elliots' Girls' Dinner Club (2005), which celebrates food the way this celebrates yarn. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Scottie's parents don't seem to remember she exists and Scottie fears that she's becoming invisible to her best friend, Amanda, as well. Amanda has left her for the popular clique as she developed curves that Scottie is, so far, lacking. Scottie's life is falling apart. Only a ball of yarn and a couple of needles keep her from becoming completely frayed.
Early one morning, once again wide-awake, she discovers the knitting her Aunt Lucille had pressed into her hands at her Aunt Roz's shivah, under a pile of clothes on the rug at her feet. Intrigued, she tries a stitch, surprised she can remember the "spike, loop, swish" knitting motion. One stitch turns into an entire row. Scottie feels the tension leaving her shoulders. Without thinking, she crams her knitting into her book bag as she prepares to leave for school.
Under pressure with Amanda and her new friends at lunch, Scottie whips out her swatch and ball of yarn and begins knitting. So much for being invisible. Scottie becomes so hooked on knitting that she goes in search of a store named KnitWit and finds herself staying for a free class offered by the owner, Alice. Fate intervenes and Amanda shows up, along with other girls from her school, Tay and Bella.
It doesn't take long before they become the "Chicks with Sticks" and Scottie finds comfort in finally belonging somewhere. But will the feeling last? It seems friends are dropping as often as she drops stitches. Amanda deserts her to free-form with her new knitting friends after her Learning Disability session at the college. Bella becomes so engrossed in knitting that she prefers solitude with her afghan. And Tay blames Scottie for the problems between her and Josh. And when she finally gets the nerve to tell her parents that she's a knitter, they get all excited that she's decided to be a "fiber artist," whatever that is. She turns to Alice only to find KnitWit's doors are closed on their meeting night.
Elizabeth Lenhard has created a warm, woolly read in IT'S A PURL THING. As a knitter, I found myself itching to grab my needles and feel the familiar comfort of K3, P3 of my current work-in-progress in soft homespun lavender. Teens are taking up their needles and creating beautiful works of art. I encourage you to join them. But before you do, take a moment to curl up with IT'S A PURL THING.
Reviewed by: Cana Rensberger
Scottie cannot sleep. She has lost her beloved aunt and is grieving deeply. At the funeral a relative hands her a pair of knitting needles and teaches her to knit. Scottie is initially put off by the idea but soon finds the yarn calls to her. She finds a wonderful little knitting shop run by a remarkable woman who has a gift for matching up yarn and people. By the end of the evening three other girls from her high school have arrived at the shop and a circle of friends, "Chicks with Sticks" is born.
The girls come from very different backgrounds and are trying to find their place in high school. Both of Scottie's parents are consumed by her mother's art career and seemingly oblivious to their daughter. Amanda is the homecoming queen type but suffers from learning disabilities which undermine her confidence and her academics. The other two have their own problems and issues but they all find help and support through their knitting friendships. Despite their resolve it takes great courage for them to pull out their knitting at lunch time in the school cafeteria.
Lenhard obviously knows her knitting. She lovingly describes beautiful yarns including the colors, textures and even the smell. The girls struggle with dropped stitches and projects that go horribly wrong but their fingers have the knitting itch.
Lenhard has included knitting patterns at the end of the book. By the time you finish you will be yearning to pick up some knitting or learn how to knit.
This book sent my daughter and me to the store yesterday. We bought knitting needles and squeezed yarn balls until we found the ones that "called" to us. We have big plans.