Feb 092012


Extra yarn is about a little girl in a winter town who finds a box of yarn that never runs out. It’s a kind of gentle fairy tale with just a hint of magic, the kind of magic that’s quiet and in the background and takes second stage to the real miracles of kindness, generosity, and confidence.

“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.”

It’s been a long time since I read a kid’s book I liked as much as this one. There’s a quiet reassurance in the voices of the writer and the illustrator, a steady building of color and plot until the immensely satisfying ending. Annabelle is the kind of role model we dream of for our children: she counters adversity with kindness and a steady confidence, and the simple strength of her good nature gives her immunity from destructive forces near and far.

It’s hard to tell from the cover how soothingly beautiful the illustrations are, how they convey feelings of cold and warmth, how the entire book is a study in the nuances of color and contrast. Every night we read it through once then start again, this time discussing each drawing, savoring each detail. I am not kidding that the girls and I have each selected a favorite brush stroke on each page.

Extra Yarn is written by Marc Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen, and I hope they do another.

Disclosure: I’m not paid to do this review, but I did get the book for free from a super nice person at HarperCollins. 

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