Before I had kids I had an idealized image of my future self as a mother reading to my children. Twenty years after my first was born I can report that the reality of reading with them easily equalled those early daydreams. Happily my kids all developed a love of books early on. One of Anders first words was 'book'. When I was pregnant with my girls and on bedrest to avoid early labor he would bring book after book to me to read to him. Sofie wouldn't go anywhere without her copy of Raymond Briggs Then Snowman and the stuffed toy that accompanied the book. When someone was having a cranky day or they were all fighting with each other, I would sit on the couch with a book and start reading out loud. Before long I'd have three sweet kids snuggling up to me, all completely engrossed in the book -- the object of their quarrel forgotten, the crankiness gone. IJK had such a love of books that when she was three or four she went through a period of sleeping with 20 or so favorites in her bed. Books continue to play an important part in their everyday lives, so when I was asked to review the book Extra Yarn I decided that a guest post from one of my children was in order. The following is IJK's review of the book Extra Yarn - which, for the record, charmed me as much as it did her.
Harper Collins sent us a book. It is an amazing book. It is a book everyone should see. And I will stress this, do not just read it, SEE IT. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, with illustrations by Jon Klassen, has a surplus of many things. As the name may suggest, the book has a surplus of yarn, but it also has a surplus of whimsy, a surplus of generosity, a surplus of beautiful illustrations, and a surplus of cute. To be clear, this is just the right amount of each of these things.
Children’s books can be saccharine and simplistic. Extra Yarn does have an easily understood story and a heartwarming ending, as well as images that rely on simple shapes and a limited color palette. However, these are done to perfection, and are far from the bejeweled books I have seen on many a bookstore shelf. I may not be a child anymore, but I still fell in love with those mesmerizing illustrated pages that I certainly would have stopped my mother from turning when I was younger.
The inside flap says this book is for 4 to 8 year olds. I disagree completely, and am of the opinion that this book is for anyone who is creative, curious, and wants to be inspired. The only reason I was left heartbroken after I finished reading is because I hadn’t created it, and I can only wish I will one day think of something so gorgeous, witty, and fun.
If you are a fan of illustration, have kids, or love EVERYTHING IN SWEATERS, this book may, just possibly, deserve a place on your bookshelf, preferably at eye level. This blurb may make me seem ridiculously, uncharacteristically positive, as I am a person who has perfected the art of the death glare, but I swear, it knocked my hand-knitted socks off.