Lucy’s Book Club

by Mac Barnett

The Caldecott Award winning book, EXTRA YARN, is a magical story about a young girl by the name of Annabelle who finds a box of yarn. As she uses the yarn to make special gifts for neighbors, pets, teachers, even buildings, more yarn always appears in the box and she is able to bring color (and warmth) to her entire town. When her magic box is stolen, the thief (who is an archduke) cannot make it work. Is the magic in the box or in a little girl’s heart? The wonderful illustrations reflect the many ways in which Annabelle is able to transform the world around her.

How does EXTRA YARN support the emotional development of young children?

EXTRA YARN is a story that not only tickles the imagination, but also affords many opportunities for children to explore feelings. Ask your child questions such as:

  • Why do you think that Annabelle wanted to make things out of yarn for so many people and places?
  • What else could she have done with the yarn?
  • How do you think she felt about giving away the things she had made?
  • Why did the archduke want the yarn box and why do you think that it did not work for him?

The facial expressions of the characters in the book are very simple and not always easy to interpret, which in itself provides an interesting topic for discussion as the children try to decipher the meaning of the character’s expressions in the context of the story events.

Reading EXTRA YARN to a group of children: engaging and activating children throughout the story:
Be sure to have your child take note of the changing illustration colors as you read the story. They might also like to guess what Annabelle will make next!

Activities to Use With EXTRA YARN

Make a collage
Have children select various colors of yarn and roll pieces of yarn into balls of all shapes. They can then put them together in a deep frame, shadow box, or even on a heavy piece of cardboard to make a collage.

Make wrapping paper

Children can use yarn to wrap wooden blocks, dip them in paint, and decorate rolls or large sheets of plain paper. The many ways that the yarn can be wrapped allows children to create a wide variety of designs.

The wrapping paper is perfect for gifts!

To download a printable .pdf, go to: