Do you know Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen? The duo is practically unbeatable when it comes to authoring and illustrating incredible books for children, but most of their books tend to make children laugh. Though Extra Yarn does have some funny images, it’s got a much more serious tone than their other books… Yet my girls would tell you this is their favorite Barnett/Klassen book (yes, even more than the “Hat” series or the “shape” series). While we love reading this one year-round, December is the perfect month to bust it out with your children. Yes, you read that right– take a break from your Christmas reading and read this one! Read on to see what makes Extra Yarn so amazing.
Extra Yarn is a simple story of generosity triumphing over greed, a story of setting your heart on a goal to give to and help others and knowing you can achieve generosity even when it seems impossible. The story starts with Annabelle and her dog stumbling upon “a box filled with yarn of every color.” And what happens next is truly magical! When used for good, the box of yarn becomes ever-full, always producing more yarn for good. But when the magic box falls into the wrong hands… You’ll have to read and see for yourself!
And these illustrations! Klassen takes mostly black and brown illustrations and slowly adds color to them through his drawings of the yarn and knit items. I sometimes run my hands over the illustrations, as it seems you should be able to feel the texture of the yarn! Each page has a vintage, old-timey feel, but still seems relatable and accessible to children today as well. And, note that Klassen does dot his stereotypical animal eyes throughout the book, so if you love how he illustrated his animal characters in other books, keep your eyes peeled for those peering looks in this one, too!
Extra Yarn is an amazing conversation starter in so many ways… You can talk about generosity, greed, goals (and how to achieve them), motives for behavior, jealousy, community, kindness, and so much more!
Pair this with A Hat for Mrs. Goldman (read my full review here!), and you’ve got yourself a wonderful read-aloud session to inspire generosity and maybe even knitting! Speaking of… I want to teach the girls to knit. Anyone have any tips???