27 February, 2012

Extra Yarn - Picture Book Review

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Publication date: 17 January 2012 by Balzer + Bray

ISBN 10/13: 0061953385 | 9780061953385

Goodreads | Amazon | B&Nicon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Category: Children's Picture Book
Keywords: Yarn, knitting, community, sharing
Format: Hardcover

From the jacket flap:

This looks like an ordinary box full of ordinary yarn. 
But it turns out it isn’t.

Alethea's Review:

Ok, you might not have to stay up all that late to finish reading Extra Yarn. There are only 40 pages, after all. And a lot of them just have pictures. The age recommendation is for 4 years old and up. You can look at a bunch of pages at the illustrator's website, www.burstofbeaden.com. (Choose Extra Yarn from the drop-down menu on the top right of the page... don't forget to come back and read the rest of my review!)

Are you back?

Don't you just love it? I'm pretty sure anyone with the power of sight, no matter what their age, will just love it, knitters especially. Little Annabelle finds a box with a bit of yarn in it and starts out just knitting a sweater for herself. Soon she's clothing every villager and even parts of the village. (The animal gang from Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back make a cameo appearance... guess what they're wearing.)

When a fashionable nobleman hears about this fantastic box of apparently infinite yarn, Annabelle has to weigh the value of the yarn versus the massive amounts of cash that the trendy archduke tries to tempt her with. Will the close-knit community (ahem) win out over the allure of avarice? Or will a million dollars buy her a lot more yarn than the box can possibly hold?

Mac's story may seem a little simplistic, but the predictability of the plot hardly bears thinking about. His story and Jon's illustrations weave together seamlessly as Extra Yarn cleverly teaches a memorable lesson about generosity and greed. The pops of color from the variegated yarn stand out against the stark, wintery landscape. It will be a challenge for readers to remain straight-faced while viewing the nonplussed expressions on the townspeople's faces. You'll want to share this book with someone, and cuddle up with your favorite knitter, neighbor, or pet while knitting and laughing the day away. 

Last week I popped in to see Jon's prints which are on display in the stairwell of Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena through March. They didn't have the book, but there was a print of the lovely village covered in colorful wool. I finally got a copy at the SCIBA Children's Literacy Dinner. I loved it! Alyson (KidLitFrenzy) and I were able to get the book signed by Jon (he even wore The Hat. good thing Bear was not at the event!) I'm also a little excited because I think this book would make a great Literacy Cafe. I even started collecting ideas already! I hope I get to meet Mac Barnett someday too; he doesn't live in the area so I'll have to keep an eye out if he ever visits.

I might be a little more than excited. I might be full-on frenetic!

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review at a literacy event. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

You can find more books by Mac Barnett at www.macbarnett.com and follow him on Twitter @macbarnett.

You can find Jon Klassen's work at www.burstofbeaden.com and www.gallerynucleus.com -- follow him on Twitter @burstofbeaden.


  1. i really want this book! i hope that jon and mac have an event in la so i can get a copy signed.

  2. I love that you actually mention literacy cafés in this post. I will have to share this with Angie.

  3. you should totally do a literacy cafe on this book!

  4. I think this would be a great book! going to check into finding out more info on securing it!