2013 is shaping up to be a very good year for author and illustrator Jon Klassen. Not only did he win the Caldecott Medal for This is Not My Hat, but another book he illustrated, Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, was selected as a Caldecott Honor Book.
Extra Yarn tells the story of Annabelle, a young girl who finds a box of yarn while she is playing outside in the snow. She takes the box home and uses the yarn to knit herself a sweater. After she finishes the sweater, she notices that she has some extra yarn so she uses the yarn to knit a sweater for her dog, Mars. Soon, Annabelle’s sweaters attract attention and brighten her surroundings everywhere she goes. Not everyone is a fan of her sweaters; a local boy mocks her and her teacher says the sweaters are a distraction in class. Annabelle responds by knitting sweaters for everyone in her community, except for Mr. Crabtree who gets a knitted cap. Even the animals and buildings receive sweaters and she never runs out of yarn. News of Annabelle’s remarkable box of yarn reaches an archduke, who has a sinister plan to obtain the yarn.
Extra Yarn is a lovely story that shows how one girl’s simple act changes her entire community. The use of color is one of the most effective aspects of Klassen’s illustrations. Klassen begins with a drab color palette when Annabelle finds the box of yarn, then gradually adds a bright and varied palette as she knits more and more sweaters. Fans of Klassen’s other books will have fun spotting some very familiar faces, all surprise recipients of Annabelle’s sweaters.
Sweet and charming, Mac Barnett’s Extra Yarn is bolstered by Klassen’s clever illustrations.
Check the WRL catalog for Extra Yarn.