Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Favorite Picture Books: Extra Yarn

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Annabelle lives in a bleak world of black and white when she finds the box of yarn. She knits herself and her dog sweaters. She knits sweaters for other people in the town, for animals, and then begins to adorn the city itself with beauty. No matter how much she knits, the yarn never runs out. She begins to attract attention with her knitting and eventually an evil man attempts to steal the box of yarn, but is it the sort of thing that can be stolen?

Jon Klassen's illustrations are delightful, full of people, animals and inanimate objects covered happily (and sometimes unexpectedly) in yarn. First Son was especially thrilled to find a familiar character from I Want My Hat Back, a picture book at which I really and truly laughed out loud.

Though Annabelle doesn't seem particularly unhappy at the beginning of the book, I love how she changes her whole world simply by creating a bit of beauty and sharing it with everyone, even those who insist they want nothing to do with it. She refuses to relinquish her gift despite huge amounts of money and threats. And when someone tries to steal it, well...you'll have to read the book. Suffice it to say I find the ending lovelier every time I read it.

I want to be Annabelle. I want my children to want to be like her...and I think anyone can be.

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