Nicki asks his Baba to knit him a pair of white mittens. Although she warns him that if he loses his mittens in the snow, they'll be nearly impossible to find, Nicki insists that's the color he wants. When he goes out to play with his new mittens, he does indeed drop one, but goes on playing, not realizing it. One by one, the woodland animals come to investigate. Each one is bigger than the last and all of them decide it will make a warm cozy home until the mitten is stuffed full, leading to a delightfully amusing ending.
The Mitten is one of Jan Brett's stand-alone children's books that's based on a Ukrainian folk tale. It tells the story of a young boy named Nicki who begs his Baba for a pair of white mittens. She warns that if he loses one in the snow it will be difficult to find, but he's insistent that they must be white. No sooner does he have his new mittens, than he goes out to play and drops one. He obliviously continues to play, while all the woodland animals come to investigate this object. One animal after another decides it will make a warm, cozy home until the poor mitten is stuffed to bursting. It'll be so much more fun to find out on your own, so I won't reveal what happens next. Suffice it to say that it has an amusing ending.
I've had my eye on Jan Brett's books for a while because of the lovely covers and the high ratings her work usually garners. The Mitten turned out to be a nice introduction to her work. It tells a cute, humorous story. It's perhaps a bit far-fetched that so many animals could fit inside one small mitten, but I'm sure it will entertain kids with it's silliness. What stands out most about the story, though, are the beautiful illustrations. I love picture books where the illustrations can practically tell the story on their own and this is just such a book. Each of the main pictures that go along with the text span two pages, but along the sides there are smaller inset illustrations that show the reader what's going on peripherally, which I thought was ingenious. The pictures alone made this worth the read. The Mitten was an enjoyable book that I hope to share with my grandkids and that has left me looking forward to checking out more of Ms. Brett's work.
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