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One of my favorite stories to read when I was a child was The Mitten. It’s a Ukrainian folktale and most often, the version I come across is by Jan Brett.

But the version that I’m more familiar with and if only for sentimental reasons, the one I enjoy more is by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Yaroslova.

The story is slightly different in each version, but the basic story line is that animals crowd into a lost mitten in the snow one by one for warmth, until the mitten can hold no more. I prefer the illustrations in the Yaroslova version because you can see the mitten expanding at the seams and eventually becoming threadbare. In Brett’s version the mitten remains very much intact, although it is quite a bit larger by the end. Also, the animals are the ones doing the talking in the Tresselt version, instead of the narrator as in Brett’s.

Whichever version you get your hands on, I’m sure your children will love it. It is most appropriate for 3-5 year olds, but my 2 yr old and 7 yr old were happy to snuggle up in front of the Christmas Tree and listen as well.

If you’re looking for ways to make a lesson out of the book, there are many online resources to supplement. Homeschool Share has a Mitten Lapbook for preschoolers and kindergartners and Jan Brett’s website has coloring pages of the animals as well as a mitten you can color and cut out.

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Today the church celebrates the feast of the Epiphany.  Traditionally on January 6, but often moved to the preceding sunday.  Here are some wonderful stories to enhance your children’s observance of this day.

Gennady Spirin has a stunning but simple book entitled We Three Kings. It is quite simply, the words to the carol of the same name.  Each page has just a line or so from the carol, but the pictures are amazingly detailed and colorful.

Another book that would be appropriate for Epiphany is The Last Straw.  You can read my previous review of that one, here.

And of course, my personal favorite would be Tomie DePaola‘s version of the Epiphany story.

“Like a flame of fire that star pointed out God, the King of Kings.

The Story of the Three Wise Kings is a traditional story, pulling on the account in Matthew’s gospel, as well as traditions about the names and attributes of the kings.  I’m definitely a huge fan of DePaola’s style of storytelling and illustrating.

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