Review: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett


Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

In the bleakness of winter when the town was all white from snow and black from chimney soot, Annabelle found a box that contained yarn of every color.  She knit herself a sweater and still had more yarn, so she knit a sweater for her dog too.  There was still yarn, so she started knitting sweaters for everyone or hats for those who didn’t want sweaters.  Still there was more yarn, so she knit sweaters for all of the animals around.  She still had not run out of yarn, so she started knitting for objects that don’t wear sweaters, covering houses and mail boxes with yarn.  That’s when Annabelle attracted the attention of a vain archduke who wanted the unending box of yarn for himself.  When she refused to sell it to him at any price, he stole it from her.  But we all know the rules about magic things, and soon the box was back in Annabelle’s hands.

This book is filled with magic and not just in the form of the unending yarn.  Barnett’s storyline is a combination of gentle storytelling and subtle humor.  It manages to be both fresh and also pay homage to traditional tales. 

Klassen’s art has the starkness of his previous book, I Want My Hat Back, but the brightness of the yarn adds an entirely new dimension.  It glows in all of its color and texture against the rest of the illustrations, bringing not only color but also a robust life into the images.  His use of digitally scanned textures to create the knit effect is ingenious. 

A delight of a picture book that references the traditional while creating something completely new and magical.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.