According to the inscription on the fly leaf, Extra Yarn belongs to Kitty, given to her for Christmas 2013 by one of our oldest friends, who also happens to be her godfather. I know Kitty unwrapped it, I know Kitty turns the pages as we read and very definitely claims it as her own, but I also suspect that her god-daddy and his lovely other half knew exactly who might be reading this one when they bought it.
I mean it’s every knitter’s dream isn’t it, a magical box that never quite runs out of yarn however many jumpers and bobble hats and tree cosies Annabelle knits. Well that and the fact that within the space of a book she’s knit enough jumpers to clothe the whole town and cosies to cover anything that will stand still long enough to be measured; clearly this is a young lady with a technique I need to study and the kind of knitting time I can only dream of!
It’s a lovely lovely collaboration between Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (who wrote and illustrated the darkly hilarious I Want My Hat Back amongst others).
I think part of the charm is that the narration manages to make what is clearly a very extraordinary situation seem so very natural and normal. I think part of the magic of childhood is your willingness to suspend disbelief and entertain ideas that your rational adult brain tells you are clearly impossible. Yes, the laws of physics will tell you that a small box cannot contain enough yarn to cloak every surface in a small town; but imagination is where you can make anything happen, so why shouldn’t it? And if you’re going to allow a never ending source of yarn, why shouldn’t an archduke come to try to steal it away (does anywhere even have archduke’s anymore? the only one I can bring to mind was the one that shot an ostrich – but I digress!).
And with the simple magical storytelling come Jon Klassen’s illustrations. And as its Annabelle that brings colour to her town in the middle of a deep winter when everything is black as soot or white as snow, everything is a charcoal version of sepia, stark and grey and unrelenting, apart from the knitting. Giant stitches that drift across every colour of the rainbow (hmm, that may be how she’s knitting so quickly) making the world a much cheerier place.
I love that all the people have pink cheeks and noses from the snowy winter, and how they all look so much happier once they’re wearing their new jumpers.
And Kitty loves the in joke, when all of her favourite friends turn up again, though this is clearly before the hat incident as the bear isn’t wearing a hat – and the rabbit is still with us!
We’ve come across a few books that include knitting or crafting, and I’m generally predisposed to like them, but they’ve never been as popular as this is with all of us. This is the book that I want to reach for on a grey winter’s afternoon, with all of my babies snuggled up next to me under a blanket as slowly outside flakes begin to fall and the world turns soft and white.
I’ve got the babies, I’ve got the book, I’ve even got the blanket (hand knitted of course), now all I need is the snow!
And if you have a favourite, or just something fun your little or not so little ones have enjoyed reading lately please do join us. The linky is always open for the whole week so there’s plenty of time. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you to tell me what we should be reading!