By Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Balzer + Bray, 2012
Awards/recognitions: *Junior Library Guild Selection *New York Times Bestseller *An IndieBound Top 10 Kids Next List Pick
If you’re familiar with Mac Barnett (writer and self-proclaimed strong man for hire), you know he’s a comedy master who is especially good at the inside joke in writing and beyond. To illustrate: He’s the founder of The Echo Park Time Travel Mart – a sort of 7-11 convenience store for time travelers. That he’s collaborated with Jon Klassen, last year’s 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor winner for I Want My Hat Back, is a stroke of genius.
But guess what? You won’t get the side splitter you’d imagine. Instead, we get something better.
Annabelle finds a box of yarn and starts knitting. It looks like a plain box of yarn – except that it isn’t. The yarn never runs out. So begins the adventure of a little girl with a heart big enough to knit hats and sweaters (and, um, other stuff) for the whole world, just because she can. No amount of bullying or negativity can stop her.
There are plenty of funny moments (and inside jokes about suspiciously familiar characters), but what I love about this little gem isn’t the comedy. It’s the allegory. Annabelle knits happiness on her own terms, and it’s so pure and strong you might just wish to go hunting for your own ball of yarn, too. MM