Frankly, I can’t recall where I heard about about this book. It’s out-of-print and was originally published in Australia. I bought a used copy a while back, but I guess it got buried under some other things. Today, Mr. Nick and his knitting surfaced.
This is a delightful story about Mr. Nick and his friend, Mrs. Jolley, who knit together on the commuter train every day (45 minutes each way). They don’t seem to know each other outside of their commuting relationship. He knits sweaters for his multitude of nieces and nephews; she knits toys (for whom? unclear). She helps him find his dropped stitches; he helps her untangle her yarn (though the illustration shows both dropped stitches and tangled yarn on her project, and neither on his).
One day, Mrs. Jolley isn’t on the train. This continues for a few days. Eventually, Mr. Nick gets a message that she is in the hospital. He goes to see her. We never do find out what exactly has happened to Mrs. Jolley, but Mr. Nick knits her an extraordinary – and extraordinarily thoughtful – gift (truly worthy of Olympic knitting).
The watercolor illustrations are colorful (but not garishly so) and detailed. There is a lot for small children to look for in these pictures. What does Mr. Nick do at work? What is he making for dinner? Where does the train go? Mr. Nick’s attention and consideration for others is wonderful, and there’s the obvious plus of seeing a man knit in public. I wish I’d had this book when my children were a bit younger – I think it would be perfect for 3-4-year olds. Plus, they might ask their knitter to make a toy or a sweater for them!