The Mitten - Thao Lam
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The Mitten

The Mitten

The Mitten

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“Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things” I have been receiving a steady stream of book deliveries over the last couple of weeks, can’t wait to share them! Keep reading…

Based on a Ukrainian story, The Mitten was written and illustrated by Jan Brett. Nicki wanted his grandma Baba to knit him a pair of snow-white mittens. Warning her grandson that white mittens would be hard to find if he should lose them in the snow, she knits him a pair, but then, of course, he loses one of them. Nicki’s lost mitten becomes a home for the woodland animals. Seeking warmth, one by one the animals crawl in, each one larger than the last until it explodes sending animals flying and leaving a very stretched mitten.

I didn’t realize there were several different versions of this folktale. When I placed my order on Amazon, I thought I was ordering the one written by Jim Aylesworth and illustrated by Barbara McClintock, but was pleasantly surprised when I got Jan Brett’s version instead.

Jan Brett’s illustrations are incredibly detailed; she paints every fiber on the mitten and every strand of fur on the animals. The expressions on the faces of the animals give them character and charm. She is known for her intricate borders, which she uses for additional storytelling panels. In The Mitten, the main story is framed by birch-bark borders with embroidered details; mitten shapes within the borders offer additional insights into the storyline, such as scenes of the boy searching for his mitten as the animals are making themselves at home in the lost mitten on the main panel. All the detail in her stories are authentic, she carefully researched costumes, furniture and animals for this traditional Ukrainian folktale.

The Mitten, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

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Author and Illustrator Jan Brett

As a child Jan Brett spent many hours reading and drawing. As a student of the Boston Museum School, she spent hours in the Fine Art section of the Museum, studying master painters. Most of her inspiration comes from her travels, as Brett makes a point to visit the many countries in which her stories take place researching the architecture, costumes, and traditions. She fills her illustrations with intricate details in order to convince readers that the imaginary places in her stories actually do exist.

To find out more about Jan Brett, please visit her website:

Publisher Putnam Juvenile; Rei/Cas edition (October 5, 1989)

ISBN-10 039921920X

ISBN-13 978-0399219207