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Aylesworth and McClintock's (Our Abe Lincoln) retold folktale about a lost mitten opens sweetly, with a playful boy wearing the tomato-red hat, scarf and mittens his grandmother has knit for him. After a carefree sled ride, he returns home, gazing disconsolately at his mittenless hand. He gets a comforting hug and hot chocolate while, outside, a delighted squirrel crawls into the mitten. Soon a rabbit asks to share the warmth: " 'Please!' begged the rabbit./ 'My toes are cold as ice!/ Your mitten looks so cozy,/ and warm toes would feel so nice!' " The tale grows sillier as a fox, then a bear, repeat the rabbit's rhyme to humorous effect and persuade the mitten's occupants to let them in the tight space, massively distending the mitten (they soon discover its limits-with explosive results). McClintock adapts her 19th century-style pen-and-ink imagery to the slapstick, emphasizing the animals' gestures and facial features in a Currier & Ives winter wonderland. The lifelike animals recall Joel Chandler Harris's folktales, and the naturalism-which is an unlikely but inspired vehicle for comedy-is full of surprises. Ages 3-6. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal
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PreS-Gr 3-This is a delightful adaptation of the Ukrainian folktale in which a dropped mitten becomes a haven of warmth and protection for an increasing number of woodland animals until it finally bursts (or, in one story, stretches out and is carried off by the wind). From the very first sentences-"Once upon a time there was a happy little boy who loved to play. Yes, he did."-the narrative draws readers into the story and begs to be read aloud. The text contains both repetitive phrases and a memorable refrain-"'Please!' begged the fox./My toes are cold as ice!/Your mitten looks so cozy,/and warm toes would feel so nice!" The gouache and watercolor illustrations with ink outlining and detail include single pages and spreads alternating with pages that contain several small vignettes, each accompanied by a bit of text. McClintock attributes the style of her artwork to 19th-century French and British illustrators J. J. Grandville and Charles H. Bennett, and to the 1960s cartoon Top Cat. Her sweet-faced animals exhibit human personality traits in both conversation and facial expressions. Alvin Tresselt's well-loved version of the tale (HarperCollins, 1964), illustrated in black line drawings accented in five colors, and Jan Brett's popular retelling (Putnam, 1989), accompanied by paintings in her own distinctive bordered style, are both filled with patterns and details in clothing and settings that characterize the tale's ethnic origin. Aylesworth's tale belongs in every collection, as well.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Twenty years after the publication of Jan Brett's now-classic version of The Mitten (1989) comes this similarly charming retelling of the Ukrainian folktale from two veteran collaborators. As in such titles as The Tale of Tricky Fox (2001) and Goldilocks and the Three Bears (2003), Aylesworth and McClintock's styles marry well here, creating a perfectly paced read-aloud with an old-fashioned feel. While playing in the snow, a young boy loses a mitten made by his grandmother. At home, his grandmother consoles him with cocoa and a promise to look for the missing mitten in the morning. Overnight, a lineup of woodland creatures finds the warm, woolen treasure and burrows in, stretching the knit until even a giant bear fits inside. It's the addition of a tiny mouse, though, that eventually causes the seams to burst, leaving only a pile of yarn pieces for the boy and his grandmother to discover. In lines filled with repetition and rhythm, Aylesworth expertly builds the humor and suspense, while McClintock's artwork, inspired by both 1960s comics and nineteenth-century illustration, capture the story's absurdity in action-filled images of the animals, each an expressive character, struggling to squeeze into the ever-expanding mitten, right up to its final explosion. A satisfying blend of cozy comforts and slapstick farce, this will be a top choice for winter story hours.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2009 Booklist