Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen is a story with absolutely beautiful pictures. If you read yesterday's post you see that Jon Klassen wrote and illustrated This is Not My Hat which was the Caldecott Award winner. Extra Yarn is a Caldecott Honor book. That means this book will have a silver medal on it b/c it is one of the runner-ups. That means Jon Klassen won the Caldecott Award and he also had a Caldecott Honor book in the same year; that is very impressive. Leonard Weisgard in 1947 was the only other person to have every done that.
I would give Extra Yarn a 4 out of 5 stars. It's a great book, and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful. However, the story just didn't grab me like I feel an amazing 5 out of 5 star book should. I am glad the bad guy didn't get what he wanted, and I am glad Annabelle was happy. I just wanted a bit more from the story; even though I'm not sure what I specifically want more of. To be honest, I don't have any complaints except that the story just didn't grab me.
I do think this would make a great read aloud for the younger grades, and I think an art teacher could read this for a lesson and do a cool art project using yarn to enhance the picture.
Booklist had the follow book review. I felt it was the best descriptive review out there.
"This understated picture book is certain to spark the imagination of every child who comes upon it, and what could be better than that? Annabelle lives in a black-and-white world, where everything is drab, drab, drab. So imagine her surprise when she finds a box filled with yarn of every color. Armed with the yarn and knitting needles, she makes herself a sweater, but after she finishes, she finds that she has extra yarn left over. After knitting a sweater for her dog, her classmates, and various (hilariously unsurprised) bunnies and bears, she still has extra yarn. So, Annabelle turns her attention to things that don’t usually wear wool cozies: houses and cars and mailboxes. Soon an evil archduke with a sinister mustache “who was very fond of clothes” hears about the magic box of never-ending yarn, and he wants it for his own. Reading like a droll fairy tale, this Barnett-Klassen collaboration is both seamless and magical. The spare, elegant text and art are also infused with plenty of deadpan humor. Klassen (I Want My Hat Back, 2011) uses ink, gouache, and digital illustration to fashion Annabelle’s world out of geometric shapes, set against dark, saturated pages, and against white as the town comes to colorful, stitched life. Quirky and wonderful, this story quietly celebrates a child’s ingenuity and her ability to change the world around her. Grades K-2. --Ann Kelley"
Overall, this picture book is a great read aloud and a teacher could use it to discuss character traits as well as many other things. I love the simplicity and beauty that is evident in this book. Definitely go check it out!