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Extra Yarn Hardcover – January 17, 2012


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The Best Books of 2012
Best Books of 2012 This book has been selected by our editors as one of the Best Picture Books of 2012.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; First Edition edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061953385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061953385
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 10.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month for Kids, January 2012: A monochrome town gets a change of color and attitude with the help of a box of yarn and a girl named Annabelle. From the seemingly endless box of Extra Yarn Annabelle knits clothing for everyone around her, tempering the ill-tempered, and creating beautifully patterned warmth for people, animals, and objects, alike. When a greedy clothes-loving archduke tries to buy--then steal--the box for himself, he discovers that ill-gotten gains bear no fruit--or in this case, yarn. Mac Barnett’s elegant and clever story is complemented by Jon Klassen’s illustrations, and fans of I Want My Hat Back will enjoy the familiar faces that show up in this picture book about the magical properties of kindness and generosity.--Seira Wilson

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This understated picture book is certain to spark the imagination of every child who comes upon it, and what could be better than that? Annabelle lives in a black-and-white world, where everything is drab, drab, drab. So imagine her surprise when she finds a box filled with yarn of every color. Armed with the yarn and knitting needles, she makes herself a sweater, but after she finishes, she finds that she has extra yarn left over. After knitting a sweater for her dog, her classmates, and various (hilariously unsurprised) bunnies and bears, she still has extra yarn. So, Annabelle turns her attention to things that don’t usually wear wool cozies: houses and cars and mailboxes. Soon an evil archduke with a sinister mustache “who was very fond of clothes” hears about the magic box of never-ending yarn, and he wants it for his own. Reading like a droll fairy tale, this Barnett-Klassen collaboration is both seamless and magical. The spare, elegant text and art are also infused with plenty of deadpan humor. Klassen (I Want My Hat Back, 2011) uses ink, gouache, and digital illustration to fashion Annabelle’s world out of geometric shapes, set against dark, saturated pages, and against white as the town comes to colorful, stitched life. Quirky and wonderful, this story quietly celebrates a child’s ingenuity and her ability to change the world around her. Grades K-2. --Ann Kelley

More About the Author

Born to non-farmers in a California farming community, Mac now lives near San Francisco. He's on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center for students in Los Angeles, and he founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers (Seriously).

Customer Reviews

It's a wonderful story and the illustrations are beautiful.
Keelan R. Parrish
My 5 year old daughter loves this book, she asks me to read it to her over and over again!
mom of 2
Extra Yarn is a very sweet story with adorable illustrations.
Valerie A. Baute

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Valerie A. Baute on January 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Extra Yarn is a very sweet story with adorable illustrations. A girl lives in a dreary world until she finds some colorful yarn in a box. It seems to be quite magical as she can knit garments for everyone! She even goes beyond that and starts knitting for animals and even buildings, turning her black and white world quite colorful. When someone tries to buy the box from her, there is no price that she would take for it, so that person decides to take it instead! What is going to happen? You have to read to find out, but I will tell you that it is a wonderful ending.

The illustrations in this book are by Jon Klassen. He has a very distinct style. He actually just wrote and illustrated a book, I Want My Hat Back, where the main character is a bear. The book is now a Theodore Seuss Geisel honor book and the bear makes a wonderful appearance in this book.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By T. Jonker on January 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've never knitted anything in my life. Not a thing. But I would imagine there's a lot of satisfaction in creating an item of clothing out of nothing and a ball of yarn. Of fabricating something, however minor. This concept of making an impact on the world, one small piece at a time is at the core of Extra Yarn. Full of beauty and humor, it's a book that will likely stick with you after the story is done.

When Annabelle finds a box filled with multicolored yarn, she does what you might expect - she knits a sweater. But there is extra yarn, so she knits sweaters for others - classmates and teachers and even animals. Still: more yarn. She begins to cover her entire cold, drab town in rainbow knitwear - including buildings and trees. The change is dramatic. Before long, an archduke arrives and offers Annabelle riches in exchange for the box. When she refuses, the archduke has it stolen. But it is for naught - he finds the box empty and angrily tosses it in the sea, where it eventually returns to Annabelle.

The conclusion will have kids asking the question - why was the box empty for the archduke? Camp #1 will say "well, the yarn just happened to run out", while Camp #2 will likely infer that the box was empty because it needs Annabelle for the magic to happen. Count me a member of the latter group.

Some subtle humor comes into play, particularly when Annabelle begins knitting for the benefit of inanimate objects, covering mailboxes, houses, and pickup trucks in sweaters. This sort of absurdity fits with Barnett and Klassen's previous work.

The ink, gouache, and digital illustrations (which bring to mind Alice and Martin Provensen's work in Caldecott-winner A Glorious Flight) are understated and gorgeous.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By B. Stamper on February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...this is a "perfect" book.

For heaven's sake, it's a kids' book about yarn bombing. Need I really say more?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Vivari on April 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When I was trained as a writing tutor in college, one of my first lessons was on making writers read their work aloud. If they stumbled over sentences as they read, you knew you had something to fix. I often think about this as I read books to my son. The flaws of some books become quite obvious when you read them aloud. This is not the case with Extra Yarn.

I love the physical experience of reading Extra Yarn aloud to my son. The sentences are strong, as is the rhythm. It is a delight to read. The illustrations are also lovely. While the yarn of every color plays a central role, the color is actually quite subtle.

The story does get a bit dark toward the end, which was a little surprising, but is still appropriate for young children.

I am not a knitter, but still thoroughly enjoy this book. My two-year-old son loves it and has asked to read it nearly every night since we got it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a knitter, I try to buy every good knitting book that comes along. Having heard about a children's book on the subject, my interest was piqued. I just finished reading Extra Yarn and was delighted. It is a story about a little girl named Annabelle who finds a box filled with yarns of every color. She knits herself a sweater and ends up knitting sweaters for almost everyone in her town. She even knits cover-ups for things that don't need sweaters - like cars, mail boxes, houses, etc. The box that the yarn comes from is a magic box and the yarn it contains is never-ending.

The book reads like a fairy tale. There are the good people and the evil ones. Good prevails and this is a wonderful character study for children ages 4-8. It is also a wonderful ode to yarn and knitting that will charm every knitter who reads it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ann D on February 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My granddaughters loved this book. They are 3.5 and 1.5 years old. I love the concept of the book and the simplicity and beauty of the illustrations.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book arrived on my doorstep as a complete surprise! It's such a wonderful book. It's beautifully illustrated, cute and sends a great message to whomever reads it.

Plus, it's about knitting. How can you go wrong with that? ;)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Coach A on March 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
How exciting for Annabelle, who lives in a black-and-white cold little town, to find a box filled with yarn of every color. This isn't an ordinary box of yarn. It's a box of never-ending yarn. Even after knitting sweaters for herself, her dog, her classmates, Mr. Norman, Mr. Crabtree (a hat for him), and Mom and Dad, Annabelle has yarn to spare. So she does what any knitter would do. She makes a sweater for everyone in town and animals, too -- and all sorts of things that don't even wear sweaters. Annabelle has an international following, including an archduke. The archduke offers Annabelle a hefty sum for her precious box, eventually stealing it when she rebuffs his offers. Boy, is he in for a surprise when he settles in to do his knitting.

Witness a town transform from cold and bleak to warm and inviting as Annabelle shares her knit creations. Ample white space draws attention to the illustrations of softly colored sweaters with knit detailing. Entertaining with a quick resolution, this book is just plain well done. It's sure to be as popular as illustrator Klassen's I Want My Hat Back. Readers will even recognize some of the characters.

Originally published for the San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review
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