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Lester's Dreadful Sweaters
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Lester's Dreadful Sweaters

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,012 ratings  ·  229 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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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  1,012 ratings  ·  229 reviews


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Lisa Vegan
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
Laura
Oct 18, 2016 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
...more
Betsy
Oct 21, 2012 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
La Coccinelle
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Something about this one made me a little uncomfortable. The poor kid was never allowed to say no and constantly had the grown-ups' wills imposed on him. I'm not sure that's a great message to be sending (kids need to learn about consent, too). Lester was forced to wear all these horrible sweaters; people treated him differently, and he wasn't happy. The more he tried to get rid of the sweaters, the worse the problem got. It was frustrating.

The illustrations were cute (I especially liked
...more
Cheryl
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Well, I'm definitely not the target audience for this. I'd find a way to say 'no thank you' to Cousin Clara. And the parents, sheesh, you can tell by their expressions they don't like the sweaters either, so why make Lester wear them? And the resolution, well, it's just too implausible for me (though perfect for the story).

But that's just me. Yet again, this is a book that deserves its fans. I agree with another reviewer who suggested second graders, and another who said fans of Charles Addams.
...more
Abigail
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Who Enjoy Picture-Books With a Quirky Sense of Humor
Shelves: picture-books
When Cousin Clara comes to stay with his family after her cottage is eaten by a crocodile, Lester, a young boy who likes things just so, is subjected to a series of hand-knitted monstrosities, otherwise known as sweaters. From the less-than-pleasant to the truly ghastly, Cousin Clara's gifts must be accepted with good grace, although mysterious "accidents" seem to keep destroying them. Unfortunately, Lester's kind cousin knits as fast as he can come up with creative disposal ideas. Then a ...more
Elizabeth A
Nov 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-ya, art, 2016, graphix
"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
...more
Skye Kilaen
May 06, 2016 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.
Melody
Jul 08, 2013 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
Elisabeth Cole
Apr 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: children-s-books
I normally really enjoy quirky picture books, the quirkier the better. "Lester's Dreadful Sweaters" is supposed to be quirky but tries way too hard and instead just seems strange. The way the dialog was written came across as clunky and odd to me and made it hard to understand what was going on. I couldn't figure out what the point of the story was until I read the synopsis. And don't get me started on the creepy clowns...
Kelly
Clever, funny, tongue-twisting, amazing! Lester's Cousin Clara keeps knitting dreadful sweaters for Lester.
Arminzerella
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
Hannah Moushabeck
Dec 27, 2012 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
Liza Gilbert
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Inspired, divine, hilarious, and just plain brilliant. With text that is reminiscent of Lemony Snicket and illustrations that channel Charles Addams, this picture book is an absolute gem amid too-cutesy and overly "charming" books that sometimes flood this portion of the book market.

This is the kind of picture book that you not only enjoy sharing with children, but buy copies of for your adult friends and family.
Lorna
Nov 01, 2012 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.
kate
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If Edward Gorey & Polly Horvath had a literary love child, this would be it. - Kirkus Reviews.
Maya Palavali
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh Lester. Those sweaters.
Polly
Cute, creepy illustrations and a very funny story! Definitely not for the very young, but I'd love to try it with a group of second graders.
Eloise
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Poor, poor Lester, whose Aunt Clara knits dreadful sweaters with lightning-fast speed. Delightful illustrations.
Chelsea Radojcic
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was so original. It was super cute and had me laughing. Mind you, I'm a 24 year old adult, and I have no children of my own, nevertheless, here I sit in my kitchen reading children's books and drinking coffee. I found it to be very cleverly written and I think I loved everything about it. It reminds me of something that my dear friend Ryan would like. It had a sort of pessimistic humor to it that I think he would appreciate. It also made me think of PJ, because of the passive ...more
Kelsey Thompson
This book is about a young boy named Lester who likes everything a certain way. He is very particular and orderly until his cousin Clara comes to stay with the family. She is always knitting these hideous sweaters for Lester to wear to school, and he HATES them. Everyone at school looks at him weird and they stopped complimenting him on his perfectly combed hair. Lester tries different ways to get rid of the sweaters but Clara is such a fast knitter he can't keep up. He went to a friends ...more
Heydi Smith
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-one-on-one
I loved this funny, quirky, retro-looking story.

Lester has to endure many awful sweaters before the story takes a turn for the wacky.

Loved it!

Actually there’s lots of great clothing picture books that this would pair with:

New Sock by Bob Shea
Little Owl’s Orange Scarf by Tatyana Feeney
The Hat by Jan Brett
Brimsby’s Hat by Andrew Prahin
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
I Like Old Clothes by Mary Ann Hoberman
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Too Purpley by Jean Reidy
A Hat for Minerva Louise by Janet
...more
Kim
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cousin Clara's cottage was consumed by a crocodile. No one knew whose cousin Cousin Clara was, so she came to stay with Lester's family. She came with a basket of knitting. One morning she made Lester a sweater. He thought it was a kind jester. Until he saw it. Charmingly odd. This book will appeal to those who graciously accepted a less than pleasant gift and found a creative way to dispatch it. A great read aloud with brillant vocabulary and illustrations.
KyLee Johnson
This book was a fun children's book. I actually enjoyed reading it. This book made me laugh because Lester's cousin kept knitting him sweaters to wear to school, and he did not enjoy the sweaters. The vocabulary used in this story is fairly advanced for children. This would be a fun book to use in the classroom and have an ugly sweater day with it.
Eric Black
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters is to-the-point the way you’d expect a young boy to tell a matter-of-fact story, or at least the way a boy in my daughter’s second grade class tells stories. The illustrations convey the story well, supporting the suspicion there may be a Tim Burton-like dark side to this story, or a moral behind a metaphor.
Annabelle Longstaff
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this book for a carefully selected summer reading program called the Texas Bluebonnet Award. It was a hilariously written book, and had everyone laughing and Edmodoing their terribly made sweaters. It's a good book for when you need a quick laugh. Or to calm down your kids with literary magic!
Darinda
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lester is a fastidious young fellow. When Cousin Clara comes to stay for a while, she knits sweaters for Lester. Ugly, ill-fitting sweaters. They really are dreadful. Unfortunately for Lester, Clara knits sweaters just as quickly as he disposes of them.

A humorous picture book about dreadful sweaters, the boy who wears them, and the woman who knits them. Silly and fun.
Alex Lindsley
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book and found it easily relatable, since nearly everyone's had at least one present they didn't really like. I loved the word play and all the alliteration, and how all the sweaters were described. I think this book could be used to introduce/reinforce the idea that one thing can have multiple purposes, or that different people have different tastes.
Susan
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn't love this. I liked the artists rendering of the different sweaters and overall I loved the images. The colors are beautiful. The story overall didn't grab me. I I will say I thought it had some great vocabulary.
Donna Mork
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A cousin shows up and knits a terrible sweater. Lester keeps losing them, but she makes more. Finally the clowns decide they love them and want them all so the cousin moves out to go with the clowns. Lester is free at last.
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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.