Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett is the feel-good book of the year. I laughed, I cried, and somehow I didn’t feel overly manipulated by lame storytelling gimmicks. It’s about a resourceful, take-charge girl named Annabelle who finds a box that contains a never-ending supply of rainbow-colored yarn. She helps her community break out of its drab conditions by knitting sweaters for everyone, including the buildings, trees, and trucks. An evil archduke enters the story wanting to buy Annabelle’s box of yarn, but she refuses. Conflict ensues, but don’t fret, good wins over evil in the end.
Extra Yarn‘s message about the capabilities of a young child even in the midst of grumpy adults and evil archdukes is presented in a sweet, humorous way that feels inspiring and not contrived. Though Mac Barnett’s story is solid, it just wouldn’t be the same without Jon Klassen‘s lovely textured illustrations that show how Annabelle’s efforts change the town. The author-illustrator pairing resulted is pure brilliance. I guess you could say I liked it.