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Understated illustrations and prose seamlessly construct an enchanting and mysterious tale about a girl named Annabelle, who lives in a world "where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys." After Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn of every color, she immediately sets out to knit sweaters for everyone she knows. Barnett's (Mustache!) story is both fairy tale lean and slyly witty. No matter how many sweaters Annabelle knits, the box always has "extra yarn" for another project, until the entire town is covered with angled stitches in muted, variegated colors-people, animals, and buildings alike. (Fans of Klassen's I Want My Hat Back may suspect that a few of the animals from that story have wandered into this one.) A villainous archduke offers to buy the box, but Annabelle refuses. He steals it, but finds it contains no yarn at all, and with the help of just a bit more magic, it finds its way back to Annabelle. Barnett wisely leaves the box's magic a mystery, keeping the focus on Annabelle's creativity, generosity, and determination. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*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.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal
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K-Gr 3-In a snow- and soot-covered town, Annabelle discovers a small black box filled with colorful yarn. She knits a sweater for herself, but there's still yarn left over. From the seemingly inexhaustible supply, she knits sweaters for her dog, a boy and his dog, her classmates, her mean teacher, her parents, and people in town. In an astounding feat of urban knitting, she covers the buildings in sweatery goodness, but the yarn does not run out. Disaster strikes when a mustachioed, piratical archduke arrives, demanding that the child sell him the magic box. When she declines, he steals it but does not benefit from his crime, as he finds it empty. In a fit of rage, the archduke curses Annabelle and flings the box into the sea. Happily, it finds its way back to her full of yarn again. Klassen's deadpan, stylized illustrations impeccably complement Barnett's quirky droll writing. Small details like a dog's sneer or sweater-covered mailboxes add to the subtle humor. The cheerful colors of the yarn contrast with the somber grays and blacks of the town. Give this one to fans of offbeat stories like Florence Heide's Princess Hyacinth: (The Surprising Story of a Girl Who Floated) (Random, 2009) or to young knitting enthusiasts.-Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, Chappaqua Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.