Perfect Picture Book Friday Looks at Extra Yarn, plus a little ‘yarn’ of my own.

With my right hand still mending from surgery (and taking longer to function properly than I’d care to wait), I found myself standing in my art room yesterday, looking with longing at my stacks of fabric, piles of paintboxes, jars of paintbrushes, and boxes of fuzzy yarn. Right now, buttoning my shirt or turning a doorknob poses a challenge. (Thankfully, typing is doable.)With creative outlets in mind, the book I chose to share for Perfect Picture Book Friday was published ten years ago and goes along with my desire to knit. Yup! I’m talking about Mac Barnett’s book, Extra Yarn.

But first, a story from my past to pair with my review.

When I was twelve, my mother decided I was old enough to learn how to knit. After receiving a wardrobe of patterned ski sweaters, pants, and jackets for my dolls over the years, I was eager to learn at her side. I watched Mom quickly cast on. My desire to learn grew as her fingers made the needles dance. Shortly, the piece took shape and draped over her hand. Eager to create something equally extraordinary, I took up the knitting needles and tried to duplicate my mother’s movements. Two hours later, you could classify my creation somewhere between a cobweb and a hairball. Mom gave up.

Years later, I passed a yarn shop that advertised Saturday knitting classes for beginners. 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. Before long, I knit scarves for my friends, knit and felted purses, house slippers, and stuffed animals, too. My husband, who often sat beside me, surprised me one day.

“I’ve been watching you,” he said, “and I think I know how to knit.”

“Sweetheart,” I said, choking back laughter, “don’t get discouraged if your first attempt looks like a cross between a cobweb and a hairball.” I gave him yarn and a set of knitting needles. He cast on like a pro, and before the week was out, my darling husband had knit himself a beautiful scarf. Quickly bored by basic knitting, he checked out a book from the library and learned how to cable knit and make a sweater.

And now it’s time for my Perfect Picture Book Friday review.

Title – Extra Yarn

Written by- Mac Barnett

Illustrated by- Jon Klassen

Published by- Balzer + Bray,  2012

Suitable for ages – 4  – 8

Topics/theme – Sharing, determination, 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 Here 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? 

This is a story about a girl named Annabelle who takes an ordinary box of yarn (Okay, it’s not so ordinary. The magical box holds a never-ending supply of yarn) and does something extraordinary with it, like knitting sweaters for everyone and everything in town. Annabelle isn’t your average character. Instead of allowing the negativity of others to crush her enthusiasm, she stays true to her beliefs, never letting anyone drag her down or steal her joy…even an archduke!

Author – Visit Mac Barnett’s web page here.

Illustrator – Visit Jon Klassen’s here.

Many thanks for visiting.

Until next Friday.

12 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday Looks at Extra Yarn, plus a little ‘yarn’ of my own.

  1. My mother was talented when it came to knitting sweaters and scarves. I, on the other hand, had little patience to learn how to knit. I liked to be up and around – not sitting! But I do love to sit around and read the book, EXTRA YARN!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, knitting takes a great deal of patience, and I was glad to learn that there are many ways to knit. The book, Extra Yarn, always makes me smile. Annabelle’s desire to make sweaters for absolutely everyone and everything in her town is touching and admirable. Gotta love those tree sweaters! 🙂


    • I needed YOUR mom because I am left-handed! I tried to watch in a mirror but that method didn’t work for me. I figured it out on my own but never progressed beyond scarves!

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s funny, but I don’t remember the teacher showing different ways to knit for right and left-handed knitters, but I think the mirror idea you came up with is excellent. I wonder where Annabelle, in the story, learned to knit sweaters for trees and dogs… That’s some talent! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • I can imagine the struggle of learning to knit as a right-handed person from someone who’s left-handed. My Mom used a method she learned as a child in Germany that made no sense to me. It seemed like she took more steps than were necessary. If you ever have a chance to take a class, I’d say, go for it! Knitting is a great way to relax at the end of the day with soft music, hot tea, and a cozy dog.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this book, and I love your story! I only knit one thing in my life, a bright blue scarf for my father. Despite looking quite ugly and misshapen, the scarf was a fixture around his neck in the winter for several years. Something about a father’s love….Kudos to your husband for being a visual learner.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post! Your story about knitting really is quite inspirational as it emphasizes on the willing to learn despite witnessing some failure in the past. Kudos to you, well done! 😊👍

    Liked by 2 people

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