Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: January 17, 2012
Source/Format: Purchased | Hardcover
In a land of dreary gray skies, little brown houses, and nothing but snow for miles, color is hard to come by. But then Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn of every color, and things begin to change in her tiny town. Extra Yarn by Mac Bennet, with illustrations by Jon Klassen, is a story about a community that discovers just how big of a difference some color and light can make, and the girl who helps to show them.
Extra Yarn begins with an illustration of Annabelle’s town and a description of the atmosphere: snow and soot, unimaginative and bland. But just as soon as we feel set to experience the bleakness of this world, Annabelle finds a box of colorful yarn, and the story is set in motion. Annabelle, with the pure faith and clarity of childhood, recognizes the yarn as extraordinary, and begins making sweaters for the people of the town. The children are captivated, but the adults are dubious, sure that this magic won’t last forever. But soon enough, even the most skeptical are unable to deny the unequivocal truth, and then the colors are everywhere – even the animals, trees, and houses have sweaters! The town, once quiet and dark, becomes loud and bright, brimming with happiness. But, as people outside of the town hear about Annabelle’s magic yarn that never runs out, things begin to take a turn. A duke arrives and steals Annabelle’s yarn for himself. But once he gets back to his castle, he realizes the box is empty. Angry, he tosses the box into the ocean and curses Annabelle, vowing she will never be happy again. But he couldn’t be more wrong. The box returns to Annabelle, and is once more filled with yarn, distinguishing the merit of goodwill from the negative limitations of greed. The duke, selfish and materialistic, could neither see nor appreciate the yarn’s true worth. Annabelle, wanting only to bring color and warmth into her world to vastly improve the outlook of her neighbors, understands wholeheartedly just how special that little, unassuming box truly is.
Extra Yarn depicts not only the importance of kindness and charity, but brings to light the certainty that a child’s imagination and goodness have the power to change the world.
If I had a special box of yarn, I would…
“Hide it away somewhere the duke can’t find it! And make a flower. Or a heart.” -Clara, age 4
"Throw it out the window and into the water so it can sail away!“ -Devon, age 3
"Hide it, or make a rope and throw it out my window and climb outside.” -Will, age 4
"Make it so winter can magically turn into summer!“ -Talula, age 4
How did this book make you feel?
"Mad because the duke stole the yarn from Annabelle!” -Izzie, age 4
“Happy because the yarn lasts forever.” -Benjamin, age 3