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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

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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If you are searching for some Christmas or December reading that isn’t necessarily about the holiday, you might try this one:

Regardless of how much you liked the politics of the former administration, former VP’s wife, Lynne Cheney is a great author of history story books for young children.  When Washington Crossed the Delaware:  A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots.  Our drive through a cold Valley Forge Park today reminded me of this story.  It chronicles the battles of Trenton and Princeton in the Revolutionary War.  The noteworthy part about the story is that they made a rather perilous crossing of the Delaware River from Pennsylvania into New Jersey on Christmas Day.  The troops had a rough winter stationed at Valley Forge.

Cheney definitely succeeded in taking a historical story and making it engaging and interesting for young children.  As far as I can tell the story is accurate, although simplified.  I appreciate the portrayal of General Washington in this story, someone who bore the weight of his decisions to send men into battle in perilous conditions. The illustrations are stunning as well, in part because of the larger size of the book.

Here are some other books by Lynne Cheney.  Although I have read a few of the other ones and at the time thought the quality was somewhat lessened in comparison to this one.

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