October 9, 2014
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Jon Klassen
Balzer + Bray
Annabelle is playing outside in the cold and the snow in her ho-hum black-and-white town. She finds a box of yarn.
First Annabelle knits herself a sweater, bringing a little color into her world. She has plenty of yarn left and knits a sweater for her dog, Nate and his crabby dog, her teacher and her classmates. With each addition, the world is a little brighter.
As Annabelle attracts the attention of those around her, some disapprove claiming that she is distracting. Some are envious and want what she has. When she refuses to sell her seemingly endless box of yarn, the box is stolen. Upon closer inspection, the box is empty until Annabelle gets it back and resumes her knitting to warm and brighten the world.
Klassen’s illustrations are as simple and straightforward as Barnett’s text. Note: Neither one is truly simple or straightforward although this is how they appear after a quick read.
Is this a story about knitting? Or is it a tale of generosity, creativity or hope? It is all of these and so much more.
Klassen’s illustrations combine ink and gouache in a world that starts out in flat back and white before adding color to the stark reality that Annabelle decides she can and will change. Share this magical, elegant story with young readers (1st grade through 3rd grade) and spur discussions about the power of one creative individual to change their world, to brighten it and make it better.
This is significantly more fanciful than Ben Franlin’s Big Splash but the idea that you can do many things with a can-do attitude is much the same.