Adults and children will find it easy to relate to Frankie, a little bear who is afraid of the dark. A familiar topic through the generations, parents have tried monster spray, checking the closets, special bedtime prayers, night lights, musical toys, and a myriad of other solutions.
Frankie's mother offers him a ball of yarn, with one end leading out to where she sits, knitting. A tangible thread to safety, each ball slowly dwindles as she pulls out more yarn, to be replaced by a new color. As Frankie drifts off to sleep, the colors influence his dreams, taking him on wonderful adventures.
Just as Frankie declares himself maybe ready to sleep without the ball of yarn, his mother shows him what she has been making: as adults have probably guessed, a colorful blanket, there to remind him of all his dreams as well as of the security he feels with his mother nearby.
While it isn't QUITE Christmas season, whatever Walmart may think, there is an obvious gift pairing here: gift this very sweet book with its dreamlike illustrations to a little one in your life, along with colorful balls of yarn and a pair of knitting needles. Let the child select the colors he wants for his blanket, or teach him to knit and start working on the blanket together!
*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.