Auntie's Knitting a Baby


70 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88833-160-6





Illustrations by Anne Simmie
Reviewed by Ellen Pilon

Ellen Pilon is a library assistant in the Patrick Power Library at Saint
Mary’s University in Halifax.


Author of three other books, Saskatoon author Lois Simmie has now published her first children’s book, a collection of poems. The verses are perfectly composed for young ears, the rhymes natural and unforced, the melody appealing to all ages. Very well written in a vocabulary familiar to young readers, the poems are witty, funny, good humoured, full of vitality, and immediately appealing. Simmie has successfully captured a child’s point of view. In “Dying, Maybe” a child sits at breakfast, not wanting to go to school, pleading illness and special treatment for the invalid: “You could put on my favourite Charlie Brown sheets, / And bring me my favourite munchies to eat, / Tomato soup on the green flowered tray, / Potato chips, ginger ale, just for today.” Her plea ignored, she concludes “Well I’ll die at my desk and then you’ll be sorry.” “Arithmetic Test’ expresses the agony of arithmetic: “My hand is sweaty + it’s hard to write... I’m clamped to my pencil + my mind’s gone blank.” In “Mean,” “I’ve been good for days, / At least fifteen; / And it sure feels good / To feel this mean.” The themes, of interest primarily to children ages 8 to 12, are diverse: a dream of finding money, fantasies sparked by a kitchen witch, moving house, sharing a bubble bath with Mom, three different representations of snakes, a brother preoccupied with germs. A few are nonsense poems (Grandfather Gilly standing on his head in “Point of View,” three Mary McBickle eating a pickle poems) and some express imagination (the cause of attic noises in “Attic Fanatic”), but fantasy and nightmare do not intrude. The black-and-white drawings by Anne Simmie are disappointing and do not meet the quality of the poems; they are of limited appeal for older children only. They break up the continuity of print — desirable in a children’s book — but do not complement or enhance the beauty of the poems.


Simmie, Lois, “Auntie's Knitting a Baby,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed September 23, 2023,