The Mitten

Jan Brett’s The Mitten is a favorite among families during the Christmas season.  Published as both picture books for children 4-8 and as a board book for infants and preschoolers, it is the story of a Ukrainian boy named Nicki who asks his grandmother Baba to knit a pair of white mittens for him.  She obliges, but warns that if he should lose them, they will be very hard to find in the snow.  While out one day, he does indeed lose a mitten in the forest.

With the mitten left behind, a little mole snuggles up inside.  Then a rabbit…and a hedgehog…and an owl and more animals until finally even a bear!  It isn’t until a mouse’s whiskers tickle the bear’s nose that with one big sneeze, the mitten is free of all the woodland creatures.  Nicki then finds it and returns home none the wiser, though it is a wee bit stretched…

It’s fun for children to read The Mitten and try to imagine so many animals squashed into one tiny mitten.  One of big main reasons people love the story so much is because of Brett’s amazing illustrations.  Her paintings thrill readers as though they’ve entered a magical forest filled with all these animals and her attention to detail is astounding.  Every feather on the owl is touched upon, every dab of color on Baba’s plates sitting upon a shelf.  Her style brings the tale to life and adds a kind of extra folklore flavor to the fanciful story.  The Mitten is sure to be one of the many children’s books that kids pull off the shelf, especially during winter.

the mitten

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