A great magical story where no one dies; no one is scarily evil; and the magic of the characters consists of everyday activities: being good at knitting, baking or, as the title suggests, tying knots.
The very last part is what I loved most about Knots. Everyone has a Talent. Those Talents are things that an everyday, average person could also be good at. Some Talents were useful: baking, and some were mundane: floating two feet off the ground. No one in the story had abilities that you would typically find in a magical story: flying, spell-casting, potion-mixing. This makes this story great for those who want a little bit of magic without too much fantasy. Another aspect of these everyday Talented abilities of the characters serves as a subtle message to the reader. Everyone has a talent; something they are a natural at, you have a talent, too. It could be anything, but you do have a talent.
Knots is great for those readers who are looking for an adventure story without having too many issues to confront or on overly scary evil villain. [SPOILER ALERT] The villain is only good at stealing talents and while mean and selfish, he’s not menacing. No threatening to throw little children off cliffs here. The main characters is an orphan but the fate of her parents, and in particular her mother, is not discussed all that much. No parents who were unfortunately crushed in an freak soup can avalanche or some other tragedy that was brought on by a spell from some evil queen or vindictive king. No one gets locked in a dank, dark tower with rats or spiders either. Nope, the challenges here extend to finding the perfect family for our main character; discovering what kind of cake to bake for a national competition and solving the mystery of just what the Owner of a thrift shop emporium is after as he steals Talents from other characters.
Ms. Graff weaves all these different stories together with amazing seamlessness. She moves back and forth between the characters and action in a fast-pace way that keeps you on edge without getting you lost.
A great read-aloud for folks with good characters and a wholesome, fun story. Fans of stories like The Penderwicks, The Doll People or Ginger Pye will really enjoy this one.