Extra Yarn

Mac Barnett, illus. by Jon Klassen. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-195338-5
Understated illustrations and prose seamlessly construct an enchanting and mysterious tale about a girl named Annabelle, who lives in a world “where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys.” After Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn of every color, she immediately sets out to knit sweaters for everyone she knows. Barnett’s (Mustache!) story is both fairy tale lean and slyly witty. No matter how many sweaters Annabelle knits, the box always has “extra yarn” for another project, until the entire town is covered with angled stitches in muted, variegated colors—people, animals, and buildings alike. (Fans of Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back may suspect that a few of the animals from that story have wandered into this one.) A villainous archduke offers to buy the box, but Annabelle refuses. He steals it, but finds it contains no yarn at all, and with the help of just a bit more magic, it finds its way back to Annabelle. Barnett wisely leaves the box’s magic a mystery, keeping the focus on Annabelle’s creativity, generosity, and determination. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
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