Knitty Kitty: 12/15/10
>Grandmothers are so typically described as sitting in rocking chairs, wearing shawls and knitting as they rock even though the grandmothers my generation had in our families weren't like that and my children's grandmothers are certainly not like that. Yet, the trope is alive and well, especially in children's books such as Knitty Kitty by David Elliott.
The grandmother here is a matronly calico who sits in a pink and green polka dotted armchair, knitting as she watches three rambunctious kittens. As they play she knits a hat, a scarf and some mittens, presumably to keep them warm.
Mittens don't stay on kittens, no matter how lovingly they were made. These kittens have other ideas for the clothing knitted for them. How grandma reacts to their creative use of her gifts highlights for me and my children that bond that families share.
However on a whole my two didn't relate to most of the book. They liked the illustrations and the rhyming text but a knitting grandmother wasn't something they could relate to. Their grandmothers walk dogs, teach school, volunteer in libraries; they are athletic and energetic. In this way the book failed to connect.