Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Extra Yarn
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on January 27, 2012
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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on January 23, 2012
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. Klassen's previous book I Want My Hat Back garnered wide acclaim with stark illustrations (and a wicked ending). Here the starkness is contrasted by the technicolor yarn. I understand Klassen created the distinctive sweater texture by scanning an actual sweater and digitally tweaking it - an inventive, and visually rewarding touch.

This isn't a book solely for fans of the off-beat - it's a story everyone can savor.
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on April 25, 2012
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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on February 22, 2012
...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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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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on December 10, 2012
This is a very neat book. The artwork is appealing, the humor is subtle but very fun. The story has kid-appeal with some classical storytelling elements, and seems loveable enough to reread and retell over and over.
However, I purchased it for a very young 3-year-old from a knitting family and think I'll need to save it until she is a little older to give as a gift.

My two worries:
1. The archbishop sends three robbers into Annabelle's house to take the yarn while she is sleeping.
2. When he finds the yarn box empty, the archbishop curses Annabelle: "Little girl, I curse you with my family's curse! You'll never be happy again!"

While these are classical fairytale elements and not especially frightening in the context of this book, it should be noted that Annabelle's home, town, and school are not a fairy tale setting - they're modern. Very young children who are still figuring out fantasy and reality do well with "bad guys" in castles, on pirate ships, and in other settings that make it clear that it is "not here". This story could create some anxiety for a very young child about robbers coming to their home in the night.
As for the curse, it just didn't seem like something I'd introduce to a toddler or very young, sensitive preschooler.

Don't get me wrong - I love the book! I think it is best suited for ages 3 1/2 - 6, with perhaps a "word to the wise" given to parents of children who are worriers, especially at bedtime. 4 stars for the artwork, enjoyable storyline, and good "conversation starter" of an ending. It would have been 5 stars if those two pages were worded in an ever-so-slightly different manner.
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on January 18, 2012
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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on March 10, 2012
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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on February 9, 2012
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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on May 25, 2013
If you are a knitter then you should get this book. I first saw it in my local yarn shop. It is about a little girl who, in the middle of winter, finds a box filled with yarn of every color, so she knits herself a sweater. When she was done she had extra yarn so she knit a sweater for her dog, Mars. Annabelle ends up knitting sweaters for just about everyone in town, except for Mr. Crabtree, who just didn't wear sweaters. He got a hat instead. News of Annnabelle and her extra yarn spread and a cheeky Archduke tried to buy Annabelle's box of yarn. Well, she refused his offer. Rebuffed, he hires robbers to steal the box of yarn from her. The story ends well, however, for Annabelle. My daughter loves this story and Jon Klassen's illustrations are as good as ever. The text is simple and fun to read. This is an awesome bedtime story for all young children and parents alike.
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