Barnett, Mac. Extra Yarn. Jon Klassen, Illus. Pic. Bk. Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, 2012. p. $16.99 978-0-06-19538-5. OUTSTANDING GRADES PRE-4
In a drab, wintry town, Annabelle discovers a box “filled with yarn of every color.” Starting with a sweater for herself and her dog, she gradually knits something for nearly everyone and everything, bringing warmth and color to the dreary town. Annabelle refuses to sell the yarn box to a greedy archduke who has people steal it. When the archduke opens the box, he finds it empty. The story does not quite end there, but readers need to knit the final few words and images together to complete the satisfying story. Barnett’s imaginative “yarn” provides a fresh take on the classic theme of sharing and selfishness. Rendered in ink, gouache, and digital imagery, Klassen’s offbeat illustrations are integral to the story, not merely decorations. As Annabelle knits, her stitches bring muted color, softness, and humor to the otherwise bleak, somber world. Some may object to the incongruous mix of contemporary and historical elements, but the themes of the fantasy—generosity and greed—are ageless.
Linda Perkins, Independent