Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Praise for Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

by Jessica Burko

Every Friday afternoon I pick-up my son early from preschool and we walk down the street to the Boston Public Library where we return the previous week's books and find a new stack of books to bring home. We don't have a TV at our house so we read a lot of books. Our weekly selection process can best be described as haphazard, with the exception of our attention to books about fire engines. A couple of weeks ago we happened across a book called Extra Yarn and without hesitation I added it to our pile. Little did I know what an amazing book we found and what an impact it's already had on the knitting community.

Published just this past year, Extra Yarn was written by Mac Barnett and Illustrated by Jon Klassen. The book tells the fanciful tale about a little girl who lives in a dull, monochromatic town, until one day when she finds a box of colorful never-ending yarn. At first she knits herself a sweater, then one for her dog, and as she continues to have "extra yarn" she knits sweaters for everyone she knows, all their pets, animals in the forest, and then "Annabelle made sweaters for things that didn't even wear sweaters." She starts yarn bombing! She knits for houses, trees, automobiles, everything! I won't go on so as not to spoil the ending, but suffice it to say this is a must read for knitters and yarn enthusiasts of all kinds.

After reading this book (many times) with my son I realized that knitting is represented in quite a few of the books we read. In fact, it seems that for generations, children's book authors have been subliminally advocating for knitting amongst our littlest readers, and hooray for that! Here are a few other books on our shelves portraying characters who knit:
Clockwise from top left is the classic Goodnight Moon in which a tiny bunny says goodnight to everything in his room including (as we read it in our family) "the bunny mama knitting". Next is a page from one of the many Babar books, this one is Babar's Busy Year where in winter Cornelius and The Old Lady keep warm by the fire. Of course the Sheep In A Jeep series must be included here as there is always a sheep knitting or cleaning up a toppled project bag in each one of those wacky books. Last in this short list is a page from Ann Tompert's Will You Come Back for Me? which is a sweet story about a little girl heading to school for the very first time.

Let the stories inspire you to grab some yarn and knit something!


  1. funny how themes keep popping up once you start paying attention to them!

    On a side note: I am in the process of yarn bombing my front yard. Not the most accomplished knitter/crocheter, so it'll take a while. But it's been fun so far!

  2. ...last week Extra Yarn won the Honorary Caldecott,2013


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