{book} extra yarn

DAY 27

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett.

Illustrations by Jon Klassen.

Balzer+Bray, 2012. ages 4-8.

I’ve not heard a bad thing about this book and spying it on the shelf (face-out, front and center, on a little table display) I had to see what the fuss was all about. Yeah, it’s pretty good–and not only as a sweet gift to the knitters in your family. This one took me by surprise–though one should never underestimate Barnett or Klassen by now.


This looks like an ordinary box full of ordinary yarn.

But it turns out it isn’t.—publisher’s comment

It was a colorless wintry world “where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys,” before a resourceful young girl Annabelle finds a box of yarn and begins to knit. She knits a colorful sweater for herself, then her dog, then her family members, community members, animals, and community objects and before long the wintry world is awash with color. One day an evil Archduke arrives upon the shore to purchase this box and Annabelle refuses to sell, but will this stop him? And has her endless and ambitious knitting project finally come to an end?


note how lacking in color the Archduke’s apparel/accessories. an easy glimpse at how much the girl influences the yarn and its magical box, but it isn’t our first glimpse.

I love the girl’s industriousness as well as some of the exasperation by those about her—until they fall under the spell of extraordinary yarn and Isabelle’s ability to knit anything let alone her willingness to do so. And really, it is her determination to share her longing for color, creativity, and warmth that transforms the community and its landscape. It is no small thing to see how the yarn links one to the other in some of the illustrations.

Jon Klassen adds so much personality to Mac Barnett’s creation. [It is nice to see some of the cast of Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back lined-up and sweatered, too.] The two really work well together in that Barnett enriches the illustrations as much as Klassen does the text.Fans of Klassen’s work will be pleased, this is my first exposure to his ability to draw humans oddly enough and he does a nice job. He is so spare in a lot of ways and in really emphasizes the quality of what we do get in color, texture, line, posture and composition.

Extra Yarn is a lovely tale for winter, but can be suited to any season because of the delightful quality to this quiet and deceptively simple story. I highly recommend it.

{images belong to Jon Klassen}

Shelf Elf’s review. 7 Questions over Breakfast w/ Jon Klassen at 7 Impossible Things…

Published by L

I read, and I write. and until recently, I sold books.

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