Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett


14 Book Review image


Extra Yarn is a gorgeous story about kindness, generosity and a little bit of magic. I first came across this book when

my daughter’s kindergarten teacher read it to the class and I hunted it out at the library this week so I could share it

with all of you. It’s worth hunting out.



Annabelle lives in a very cold, very drab little town, where everything is constantly blanketed in snow and soot. One

day she finds a magical box of yarn and she begins knitting jumpers for everyone and everything in her town. Word

spreads (as it always does) of her magical box of yarn and Annabelle encounters a not-so- nice man who wants the

box very badly, but the really magical thing about magic, is that it doesn’t work for everyone.


Why I love it

Firstly, I love the way the book is written. I love the words that are used and the way they are used. Extra Yarn is, I

guess, minimalist in its style; it’s not full of description and detail, it is simple and the ‘less is more’ approach is used

in regards to the text and the illustrations (by Jon Klassen). I also love the themes of giving and true value and of

justice. This is a book about paying it forward, about how some things cannot be bought and about karma. Extra

Yarn could be used to discuss all sorts of issues or topics. But I think the main reason I love this story, is because of

the way it makes me feel; it makes me feel calm and strong. I’m not entirely sure how it does that, and I guess that’s

not really important, but the story, and particularly the character of Annabelle, has a quiet strength that I love.


Themes to discuss with your child

  • Generosity
  • Kindness
  • Giving to others, without expecting in return
  • Recognising the needs and wants of others (realising Mr. Crabtree would prefer a hat)
  • True worth, as opposed to monetary worth
  • Karma/justice
  • Magic
  • Happiness

Questions to ask your child

Before reading:

  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Look closely at the front cover –  what is used to spell out the book title?
  • What are all the animals wearing?
  • What is coming out of the box in the bottom, left corner of the cover?

After reading:

  • How does this story make you feel? Explain.
  • Why do you think the yarn box did not work for the archduke?
  • The archduke’s curse on Annabelle did not work – why do you think that is?
  • Why do you think Annabelle would not sell the yarn box?
  • Would you have sold the yarn box if you were Annabelle? Why/Why not?
  • In what ways did her town change after she began knitting?
  • Do you think the people in the town were happier? Why/Why not?
  • Why do you think knitting made Annabelle so happy?
  • Annabelle was very generous and giving with her knitting, have you ever done something generous for
  • someone else? If so, how did it make you feel? If not, what could you do?

Join the newsletter

Like a little brilliance in your inbox?
Sign up here to receive a weekly update from us.

Powered by ConvertKit