Perfect Picture Book Friday looks at the Caldecott Honor book, Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen. And, as a fun addition, I have included a link at the end of this post to help you learn to knit as well as a link that teaches you to make a fun DIY yarn bowl.
When I was twelve, my mother decided I was old enough to learn how to knit. After receiving a marvelous wardrobe of patterned ski sweaters, pants, and jackets for my Barbie dolls over the years, I was eager to learn at my mother’s side. I watched as she quickly cast on. Her fingers did what I fondly refer to in knitting as ‘the dance’. The yarn moved slowly, smoothly, and steadily over her fingers as the piece grew longer and longer. When it was my turn, I took the knitting needles in hand and created something quite extraordinary. I made a creation that fell somewhere between a cobweb and a hairball. Mom gave up and I returned to sewing, a skill I had far greater success with.
As the years passed, and I grew up and married, I came by a yarn shop with a poster in the window, advertising their Saturday Afternoon Knitting Class. I decided to give knitting another chance. Since the teacher would be paid to teach me, maybe she’d have more patience…
The process was different from my mother’s. I learned there are many ways to knit, and the method taught in this class made sense to me. Before long, I had knit scarves for the family, knit and felted purses and house slippers and stuffed animals. My husband, who often sat beside me, watching as I knit, surprised me one day.
“I’ve been watching you,” he said. “And I think I know how to knit.”
“Sweetheart,” I said, “don’t get discouraged if your first attempts look like a cross between a cobweb and a hairball.” I gave him yarn and a set of knitting needles. Sure enough, he cast on like a pro. Before the week was out, my darling husband had knit himself a beautiful scarf. Then he went on the learn how to make those challenging cable knits and tackled a sweater!
All this talk of knitting leads me to the lovely picture book I’d like to share with you this Friday.
Title – Extra Yarn
Written by- Mac Barnett
*Illustrated by- Jon Klassen
*Published by- Balzer + Bray, 2012
*Suitable for ages – 4 – 8
*Topics/theme – Sharing and friendship
*Opening – On a cold afternoon, in a cold little town, where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys, Annabelle found a box filled with yarn of every color.
Summary – With a supply of yarn that never runs out, Annabelle knits for everyone and everything in town until an evil archduke decides he wants the yarn for himself.
Synopsis from Amazon – Extra Yarn, a Caldecott Honor Book, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, and a New York Times bestseller. It is the story of how a young girl and her box of magical yarn transform a community.
With spare, gently humorous illustrations and a palette that moves from black-and-white to a range of color, this modern fairy tale has the feel of a new classic.
Why do I like this book? Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn and sets out to knit herself a sweater, and because she has yarn left… she knits a sweater for her dog, too. But when people see her creations, they laugh and tease. Instead of feeling discouraged, Annabelle performs a most wonderful and unexpected act of kindness… She knits sweaters for those people, too. And…because she still has more yarn left…Anabelle warms her town in cozy sweaters–literally. I won’t spoil the ending, but let me say that Annabelle loves her yarn and all she can do with it sooo much that she wouldn’t part with it for two million dollars. That’s love!
Author – Visit Mac Barnett’s web page here.
Illustrator – Visit Jon Klassen’s here.
Learn how to knit here.
Now for a fun DIY project you can do with children. Make a fun, usable yarn bowl with children. Instructions here.
To find other perfect picture books please visit Susanna Hills blog.
If, after reading this book, you are wondering what else Annabelle could have made with her yarn, as children for their thoughts. Their answers are guaranteed to surprise and delight you.