Friday, October 17, 2014
illustrated by Jon Klassen
Ages: birth – 8 years (approximately grades preschool – 2nd)
In a drab little town filled with while snow and black soot, Annabelle finds a box of yarn in every color. She takes to the task of knitting a sweater, first for herself and her dog, to find that the box was still filled with the extraordinarily colorful yarn. She then busies herself knitting for her naysayers, her classmates and teacher, her parents and neighbors, and eventually covers the entire town (yes, animals, trucks, and buildings, too) with knitted sweaters. And still her box remains full. This amazing feat draws the masses to shake Annabelle’s hand, including a mustachioed archduke who makes Annabelle an offer she can’t refuse for her magical yarn box. Except that she does refuse, and the Duke deigns to steal the box and sail with it to his faraway kingdom. Upon opening the box and finding it empty, the archduke angrily tosses the box out of his castle’s window and curses Annabelle. As if to spite the greedy archduke, the box almost magically returns to Annabelle, and who lives (and knits) happily ever after.
Jon Klassen’s Caldecott Honor illustrations are true to his simplistic, cut-out style. Both the drab hues of the town and the colorful splashes of yarn are perfectly attuned to the story’s quite simple narrative, and often times seem to tell a story in and of themselves. Paired with Mac Barnett’s words, a true deviation from his usual plotlines, makes this a truly winning title. Those who enjoyed the simplicity of Pom and Pim or the whimsy of Sparky! will enjoy this Caldecott Honor title.
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