I have read hundreds and hundreds (no exaggeration) of books with my children over the past 16+ years of mothering. With all of that reading, I simply cannot understand how The Mitten never made its way to our book stack!
The Mitten by Jan Brett is such a delightful book and my almost 5-year-old and I have enjoyed reading it over and over this week during his school time.
This book lends itself to such lovely rabbit trails, so take some time to explore one or two in your own homeschool!
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The Mitten by Jan Brett
Book: The Mitten
Author: Jan Brett
Illustrator: Jan Brett
If you’re not already familiar, the Ukrainian story of The Mitten revolves around a group of animals who just happen upon a white mitten that is lost in the snow. One by one, the animals squeeze into this knitted mitten in the hopes of staying in a cuddly, warm spot.
It does get crowded with all of the animals in there! Suddenly, the bear lets out a big sneeze and sends the animals flying. The boy then finds his lost mitten and returns home to his grandmother.
My first impression of The Mitten centered on the lovely illustrations! While the animals are obviously drawn and not photos of real animals, they are incredibly realistic. Ms. Brett created the faces and emotions in such a clever way.
My son and I laughed and laughed over the way the author drew the hedgehog’s quills poking out of the mitten. This was such a creative touch!
Learning Ideas and Activities for The Mitten
Use a few of these ideas and questions to extend the learning of The Mitten. Adding the “extras” can often be what makes the book memorable for years later!
— You and your young ones have to make these Marvelous Mittens! These aren’t for wearing but are for eating. Perfect!
— After you read the book the first time, go back and read the book again taking special note of the pictures in the borders of each page. The author made the side pictures seem as if you’re looking through a keyhole, only it’s a mitten. Clever!
— The author tells us this folktale is Ukrainian in origin. Find Ukraine on a map or globe. What countries does it border? How would you get there if you were to visit?
— Watch a beginning video on how to knit. Does it look easy or hard?
— Learn how to finger knit! This is a simple and neat activity to learn and doesn’t require anything but fingers and yarn.
— Make a list of the various woodland animals that are featured throughout the book. Does your young one find one interesting? Look up the animal in your Animal Encyclopedia and do a bit of research.
Here are some questions you can ask your child as you read:
— There are beautiful embroidery pieces on each page. Why would the artist add those?
— Nicki calls his grandmother ‘Baba.’ What do you call your grandmother? Why do other families have different names for grandmother? (Grandma, Nana, Mawmaw, etc.)
— Would you choose a set of white mittens like Nicki? If not, look in Baba’s basket of yarn and choose the color you like best. (My boy chose green and I chose blue!)
— Look at Baba’s house and compare it to your own. What is similar? What is different?