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Lester's Dreadful Sweaters
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Lester's Dreadful Sweaters

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  804 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
A fastidious fellow, Lester likes everything just so. So when Cousin Clara moves in and knits him truly dreadful sweaters as fast as he can surreptitiously dispose of them, Lester must think of a way to get rid of them for good — or be doomed to look like a clown forever.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Kids Can Press
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Community Reviews

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Oct 18, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books

Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell was a surprise treat for me.

This quirky and slightly creepy tale revolves around just how much misery and mayhem the clickety-click of knitting needles can cause one boy. Can Lester survive the itching, the pain, and humiliation from each and every one of the dreadful sweaters?

Pages tinged with muted colors and dark humor brings our tale to light. A tale filled with crocodiles, clowns, and sweater massacres galore!

An original story that tickled my fun
Oct 21, 2012 Betsy rated it it was amazing
When writing a picture book it can sometimes be a good idea to take a universal childhood annoyance and then build upon it in a satisfyingly ridiculous manner. And kids, let's face it, are often annoyed. They have to eat vegetables and take baths and take out the trash and any number of grumble-worthy daily events. And though I have no evidence to support it, I have a theory about bad gifts from relatives. I think that's something that crosses space and time and language and culture. I think ...more
Lisa Vegan
Aug 17, 2013 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Melody
I love the premise of this story and found it hilarious, tinged with a bit of sadness until the very happy and funny ending. The illustrations definitely fit the story and were also properly amusing, but except for the adorable dog, I can’t say I found them aesthetically pleasing. The dog and its expressiveness is great though. I really loved Lester; he’s a wonderfully unique character. I like the story’s message of a person finding a good fit for themselves and its potential for discussing how ...more
Skye Kilaen
Oct 02, 2016 Skye Kilaen rated it really liked it
You know that cousin, that no one knows how they're related, but they keep showing up at family gatherings? Cousin Clara is THAT cousin. Except she doesn't get drunk or make inappropriate jokes or try to borrow money or set the couch on fire by accident. She KNITS. Horrible, horrible sweaters that Lester's parents insist he wear. Is he doomed?

One of our favorite children's picture books about families, even though it diverges from the shiny happy mode that many kids' books tend to favor.
Jul 08, 2013 Melody rated it really liked it
Oh, this was a fun book! I am in love with the dog who is drawn with the cutest expressions. The drawings are whimsical and weird, the story is odd and inventive. I could read this one out loud over and over again. From the beginning, where Lester measures his socks to make sure they are even, to the end, when Cousin Clara finds her people, it's just an unmitigated delight. There is also plenty to look at on every page, which practically guarantees success at bedtime. Lester is a quirky and ...more
Lester lives a very orderly, meticulous life until the arrival of Cousin Clara (whose “cottage was consumed by a crocodile). She installs herself in his family’s home and begins knitting sweaters – each one more horrific than the last. Lester manages to destroy every single one of them almost as quickly as Clara churns them out, but his reputation is beginning to suffer. When he’s forced to wear a particularly hideous sweater to a classmate’s birthday party, he attracts the attention of the ...more
Dec 27, 2012 Hannah rated it it was amazing
“No one knows who’s cousin Cousin Clara really is” so she comes to stay with Lester’s family. When Cousin Clara knits Lester a sweater he is delighted, until he sees it. The sweater is very ugly and nothing Lester would like to wear with his neat ties and nicely combed hair. So everyday he devises a way to get rid of the sweater and everyday Cousin Clara knits him an even more horrifying one. Can he get rid of them all in time for Enid’s birthday party? Campbell’s comical illustrations go hand ...more
Nov 07, 2012 Lorna rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
I adored the illustrations and overall, I liked the premise of Lester's cousin who knits ghastly sweater after ghastly sweater in this cute snd quirky story. There were a few awkward page turns where I felt a bit confused and wondered if I missed something, and had to go back to see if I missed a page, but alas, I didn't. It is a wordier picture book, so I'd recommend this for 3rd grade and up.
Oct 17, 2012 Eloise rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Poor, poor Lester, whose Aunt Clara knits dreadful sweaters with lightning-fast speed. Delightful illustrations.
Sep 13, 2012 kate rated it it was amazing
If Edward Gorey & Polly Horvath had a literary love child, this would be it. - Kirkus Reviews.
Elizabeth A
Nov 28, 2016 Elizabeth A rated it liked it
Shelves: graphix, art, kids-ya, 2016
"Cousin Clara's cottage was consumed by a crocodile. Luckily, Cousin Clara wasn't in it."

When a picture book for young readers starts that way, you know that you are in for a fun ride. The only problem, as far as Lester is concerned, is that Cousin Clara comes to live with them, and brings along her knitting needles and is determined to knit him sweaters. Adults are often guilty of giving hideous gifts to kids, and Cousin Clara is no exception. What is poor Lester to do?

This is a cute, quick rea
Maya Palavali
Nov 30, 2016 Maya Palavali rated it it was amazing
Oh Lester. Those sweaters.
Sep 27, 2016 Jackie rated it liked it
This book has wonky and whimsy illustrations and funny text, both of which will make kids laugh. Could be fun to do a unit where we create pictures of our own dreadful sweaters.
S Farneth
Mar 06, 2013 S Farneth rated it really liked it
The story is engaging and imaginative, however, the illustrations put a damper on the liveliness that could have and should have happened throughout the book.

The reader begins with two pages of alliteration which I expected to be carried on throughout the story, “Cousins Clara’s cottage was consumed by a crocodile.” This is the reason Cousin Clara came to stay with Lester’s family. Nothing else is mentioned of the crocodile and the alliteration ends there.

Cousin Clara is described as “little and
Sep 28, 2013 babyhippoface rated it it was amazing
Here's a sentence I've never typed before in my lifetime and I feel certain I never will again: Luckily, a troupe of clowns comes along.

Clowns have never been on my "things I enjoy" list (except for HoHo, and only my fellow Okies will know HoHo), so the fact they are heroes of a sort here makes this book even funnier to me. I need to be able to give this six stars, because this book cracked me up. Big-time.

Cousin Clara's cottage has been consumed by crocodiles, so she comes to live with Lester
Dec 19, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it

I love Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters. It’s one of my favorite picture books I’ve ever read. It has that quirky, silly feel to it that I always seem to appreciate. Lester, I suspect, has a mild case of OCD. His hair must always be combed to perfection and his socks must be at just the perfect length. He’s a very serious child. When Cousin Clara comes to live with them she begins making him the most dreadful sweaters, with random holes
Sep 21, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time teaching good manners as far as receiving unwanted gifts. Lester has a (possible) Cousin Clara come to live with him and his parents. She loves to knit sweaters which is all fine and good. Unfortunately she gives them to Lester and they are terrible. Buttons and holes where they shouldn't be, horrible colors and wrong lengths as well. Dutifully Lester thanks his cousin each time but then some disaster befalls the sweaters. One met up with ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Jess rated it it was amazing
All the dreadful sweaters of the world had to be worn by poor Lester! But why? The family receives Cousin Clara into their home. She occupies her time knitting, one day making a new sweater for Lester. Truly a one of a kind sweater, but not of Lester's liking. Quick to end his social embarrasment due to wearing the sweater to school,he destroys it. Clara keeps knitting and for each one he destroys, she knits a new one. What to do? Lester needs to decide to wear Clara's "avantgarde" creations or ...more
Sherry Philippus
The book jacket describes the book as "curiously odd" and I have to agree. Certainly, most readers (myself included) can relate to the experience of receiving an ugly/unwanted gift, so the premise of the story is appealing. The high vocabulary level, fabulous adjective choices, and Campbell's careful, persistent use of alliteration is evident from the first line, so the book scored points with me for language lessons. The trouble is, though, that I just don't find the main characters likable. ...more
May 13, 2015 Marsha rated it it was ok
The illustrations in this story aren’t so great. Everything seems overshadowed by a dreary sepia tone that renders it all rather drab and lifeless. Even Lester’s Cousin Clara doesn’t match up to her description. She’s written to be “little and frilly” but is actually dumpy and fat with a mole, ugly little glasses and gray hair that sticks up from her round head and she wears a dowdy ankle-length dress. She looks like a slightly feminized version of Oliver Hardy. Her minor claims to daintiness ...more
Katie Fleming
Oct 03, 2013 Katie Fleming rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ch-02-award
"Lester's Dreadful Sweaters," by K.G. Campbell is a story about Lester, who is a very organized boy, and his "cousin" Clara. Cousin Clara, who may not even be anyone's cousin, comes to live at Lester's house. While staying there, she knits sweaters that are particularly "dreadful" in Lester's opinion. Lester tries to get rid of these awful sweaters but Cousin Clara is making them by the tons. Eventually, Lester comes up with a plan that ships Cousin Clara off to knit sweaters for the clowns, who ...more
May 08, 2013 Erin rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be hilarious. My grandmother made my younger sister a horrible bright yellow sweater with bits of white fluff stuck all to it. The family jokingly referred to this garment as the chicken sweater. My sister is now married and her new last name is Lester. The thought of her son, a Lester, being the next generation of ugly sweater wearers is too funny for me. This is especially so since I am the culprit who knits him the ugly sweaters.

I laughed out loud at the contradictions i
Apr 05, 2013 Maureen rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Lester is a particular little boy who likes things just so. When Cousin Clara came to live with his family he was concerned. At first everything went well and Cousin Clara did not mess up any of his things. However, Cousin Clara knits and the sweaters she ends up creating for Lester are quite unusual and affect how people at school react to him. Lester decides to put a stop to it by destroying the sweater, but Cousin Clara just makes more and more, faster than Lester can get rid of them. In the ...more
Chris Go
Aug 10, 2014 Chris Go rated it it was amazing
If you ever had an aunt or other family member make things for you, especially clothing, you will relate to this book, and probably laugh out loud at points. For me, it was my well meaning Aunt Cookie. She loved to knit and crochet. Unfortunately, I think she may have been color blind, as she mixed the oddest palettes together. My sister and I received many - shall we say festive colored - ponchos. For Lester, his it is his Cousin Clara, who enjoys knitting sweaters. Poor Lester.

Each creation of
Apr 06, 2013 Carol rated it it was amazing
Young Lester was suspicious of pretty much everything and he liked his life to be perfectly ordered. That all changed when cousin Clara arrived. The family isn't quite sure whose cousin she is, but if she's family then she, and her knitting basket, will be welcomed in their home. Now poor Lester's life will never be the same for Cousin Clara rapidly knitted him a sweater which, to be polite, he wore until it "accidentally" got ruined. Never fear, cousin Clara can knit up a new one in the blink ...more
Aug 24, 2013 Shelli rated it it was amazing
Hysterical story because it is so relatable! Every child has been given at least one ghastly outfit from a beloved relative. (I have a photographic reminder of this when I look at my 6th grade year book *shudders.*) Why do these people insist on sharing such horrific gifts? Have they never heard of a gift card??

Poor Lester not only receives a dreadful sweater, the aunt who gave it to him (if she is even really his aunt) lives with him; so he is forced to wear it to school. Somehow the dreadful
Aug 05, 2013 Jayna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Ages 3 and up

Lester's Aunt Clara comes to live with them after her house is eaten by a crocodile. Aunt Clara makes prim and neat Lester a new sweater, which is very dreadful, but he wears it to school anyway. After his bad day at school due to the sweater, the sweater meets an untimely end, as does all sweaters that Aunt Clara makes for Lester. One day Lester wears his sweater to a birthday party where his sweater is admired by the clowns. The clowns then go home with Lester and Aunt Clara's sw
Jun 24, 2015 Lindsi rated it really liked it
This is a book about a boy named Lester, whose Cousin Clara comes to stay with them. She likes to knit and knits Lester sweater after sweater after sweater. They aren’t simple sweaters either. They are crazy, ghastly, dreadful sweaters. Lester’s parents make him wear them to school. Every time he wears one it mysteriously disappears, but Cousin Clara always has more sweaters ready for him. Lester can’t stand the sweaters. Eventually he goes to a birthday party (in one of Clara’s sweaters) that ...more
Sep 10, 2016 Fjóla rated it really liked it
A very quirky book. The opening scene was a bit in the spirit of James and the Giant Peach but the rest is very distinctly "lesterian". Lester is rather the odd child, with his lists and collections, maybe even on the autistic spectrum (and I think this transmits in the vocabulary used in the story, which certainly is peculiar and may render the book slightly less accessible to the younger crowd) but it certainly doesn't help when "cousin" Clara moves in and starts doting on him with her knitted ...more
Dec 08, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Ok how could I not review this book, a book about hand knit sweaters… I’m there.

Cousin Clara’s house is consumed by a crocodile so she has to move in with Lester’s family. All was going well, and Cousin Clara seems to occupy her time with knitting, and only knitting until Cousin Clara announces that she made Lester a sweater and it is hideous! Poor Lester suffers through sweater after sweater that Cousin Clara knits for him, each one suffer mysterious accidents.

This was a fun and quirky book for
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K. G. Campbell is the author-illustrator of Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters. He was born in Kenya, raised in Scotland, and now lives in southern California.
More about K.G. Campbell...

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