A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book would be a good introduction to Ukrainian culture, especially their folk tales and folk art.
No heavy message here but the suggestion is that one animal too many (a tiny mouse in this case) pushes the mitten beyond its limit. However, more obviously, the grandmother lovingly knits the mittens for her grandson and, though he is a bit careless about caring for them, all works out in the end.
Positive Role Models
Though usually out of fear of size, big claws or shiny teeth, the animals move over one by one to allow the next one in. Also, out of love, the grandmother knits the mittens with white yarn as her grandson requests, and she looks out to see that he is safe and sound.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 20th anniversary edition is a beautiful book, and one to be treasured, both for the sweetness of the story and the detailed artwork that illustrates it.
Is It Any Good?
This kind of accumulating story is always entertaining, especially when such large animals squeeze into a very small space ... and somehow there is room for them! But the classic Jan Brett illustrations of this book make an entertaining story so much better. First published in 1989, this book was considered a treasure then; now, a generation later, it comes back to us in a slightly oversized volume, but with the same beautiful animal drawings and the addition of a personal note from the author. It is a treasure, and one of those books that should be shared with every child, especially if grandmother can do the reading!
Painted with nearly dry watercolors, animal characters are sensitively textured and almost looking like woodcuts, but softer, and more expressive. They are set against the billowing blue-toned snow, and whole scenes are framed by birch bark panels highlighted here and there with rich colors of embroidered flowers. Details denoting Ukrainian tradition, such as embroidered clothing, painted dishware, fireplace decoration, thatched cottage roof with a stork's nest near the chimney, pitchers on the posts outside, all give a beautifully honest tone to the tale.
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Our Editors Recommend
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