Sunday, July 8, 2012

Review: The Mitten A Ukrainian Folktale

The Mitten: A Ukrainian Folktale by Jan Brett

The adaptation of the Ukrainian Folktale is about a little boy named Nicki who wanted mittens as white as the snow. His grandmother was afraid he would lose them, but she made them for him anyway. Nicki took his new mittens out to play and just like his grandmother said, he dropped one and didn't even notice! The mitten fell in the snow and blended very well. A little mole made his way to the mitten and climbed in for warmth followed by a rabbit, a hedgehog, an owl, a badger, a fox, a bear, and last but not least, a tiny little field mouse. All of the animals were warm and snug in the stretched out mitten until the bear sneezed from the field mouse's whiskers. All the animals were thrown from the mitten as it flew up in the air. About this time, Nicki noticed that his mitten was missing after all. He saw the mitten as it was falling back down from the sky and ran inside with both mittens. Grandmother looked puzzled as she saw the mitten that was stretched out to three times the size of the other one.

This book would be very effective when discussing foreshadowing, a huge part of this book is foreshadowing what is going to happen next. On a two page spread, there is the big picture in the middle and on both sides, in the shape of a mitten, there are two smaller pictures. These pictures give an idea about what is going to happen on the next page. While each animal is climbing in the mitten in the big picture, in the smaller pictures you see Nicki playing in the snow with the next animal's face peeking out somewhere on the left side and on the right, the animal is coming out of it's home to go towards the mitten.

The illustrations were also done by Jan Brett. Much of the pages are covered in white snow, as that is the setting where the story takes place. While the snow, house, trees, and other background objects are neutral colors, the illustrator adds pops of color where she can. The door of the house is red and blue and Nicki's hat and pants are bright red. Above each of the foreshadowing windows on the page, there are colorful pieces of art that add more color to the pages.

This book is appropriate for children in preschool and the primary grades of elementary school. The author also has a cute activity for young children with this book. She has masks that teachers can download and print for a Mitten play!

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