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Posts Tagged ‘snow’

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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As a child, a favorite book of mine was Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House.  Growing up in a county which was constantly losing it’s farmlands and forests to new housing developments, I empathized with the little house.  I loved that Burton made the text of the words go in the shape of the roads on the facing page, and the details of the city being built up around the house.  I never read any of her other stories until I had my own children.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is a timeless classic like The Little House that comes out every now and then and is deeply loved by my kids.  This one is about Mike Mulligan’s steam shovel, Mary Anne who is powerful and strong and a bit prideful but is eventually sidelined for digging jobs by the more powerful diesel engines. 

As in The Little House, the theme of old things being tossed aside for new in the name of progress is evident.  In both stories, both the house, and Mary Anne find new lives and new purpose, despite their age and decrepitude.

The other day I just learned of another of Burton’s books, Katy and the Big Snow. This one is about Katy the snow plow who comes to the rescue of the town of Geoppolis when they are hit with huge amounts of snow.

Katy is the only plow able to dig out the town.  This book has Burton’s signature illustrations weaving from side to side across the page and the lovely detailed drawings.  There isn’t as much of a message about old things becoming new again as in the previous books, but it’s a fun story nonetheless.

Burton has several other books probably of equal quality that I hope to get a hold of soon:  Life Story, Choo Choo, Maybelle the Cable Car, and Calico the Wonder Horse.

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