The Mitten

Jim Aylesworth, Retold by, Barbara McClintock, Illustrator , illus. by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic Press $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-92544-0

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.)

Reviewed on: 10/19/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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