Extra Yarn

Written By: Mac Barnett

Illustrated By: Jon Klassen

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Take a moment to explore the cover and illustrations and give your child a chance to make observations and predictions before beginning the read-through. Reassure him/her that these are just observations and guesses, and that there isn’t one right answer. Ask questions like:

What do you notice on the cover?

What can yarn be used for? (knitting, hair on a drawing, etc)

What are the girl, the animals and the letters of the title all wearing?

What do you think this story will be about? Why do you think that?

As You Read

On your first read-through, try reading the story in its entirety without stopping to discuss. This will allow your child to enjoy the story as a whole. On subsequent readings, engage your child in discussion about the story’s events and its characters. Help your child appreciate how much knitting Annabelle did by encouraging your child to point out all of the things that she knit sweaters for. As s/he is pointing to the various buildings and animals that are wearing sweaters, say, “Wow, she made sweaters for all of those buildings, people and animals. That’s a lot of knitting!” After reading, “Things began to change in that little town”, ask, “How did things change? What was the town like before Annabelle found the box of yarn? What is it like now?”

Vocabulary Building:

While reading, encourage your child to stop and identify words that they are not familiar with. Allow him/her to discover a word’s meaning by using the words and illustrations surrounding it. Examples of new words in Extra Yarn include:




Making Connections:

Allow your child to step into the shoes of the characters in the story by asking questions about their decisions and motives. For example, when Nate teases Annabelle about her sweater, ask, “Why did Nate tease Annabelle? Why was he jealous? What else could he have done instead of teasing her about her sweater? Have you ever been jealous of what someone else had? What did you do?” Also, when Annabelle refused to sell her yarn to the archduke, ask, “Why do you think Annabelle didn’t want to sell the box? Would you have sold it? Why or why not?”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Ask questions like these to conclude your reading and gauge your child’s comprehension of the story:

What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

Why do you think the box of yarn never ran out?

How did Annabelle help change the town?

Why wasn’t there any yarn in the box when the archduke opened it?

Activity: Finger Knit Your Own Creation

Inspired by Hey Jen Renee

Supplies: Multicolored yarn


Knitting may seem to be hard work, but with this activity, your little one can learn how to finger knit with just some multicolored yarn and his/her fingers. Here is a video that will help demonstrate how to get started!

  1. With your child’s palm facing out and fingers pointing up to the ceiling, begin looping the yarn in and out starting at the pointer finger. Then, work your way back to the pointer finger and do this once more until you have two loops on the front of each finger, on the palm side.
  2. Next, pull the bottom loop over the top on each finger starting with the pinky finger.
  3. Then loop the yarn around each finger again until there are once more two loops on each finger.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until you’ve got as much length as you want.
  5. Then carefully remove the loops from your child’s fingers and cut the yarn, leaving a 6” tail. Loop the tail through each loop, pull tight and make a knot.

Your child can create a small scarf for his/her favorite stuffed animals or can create a thin scarf for him/herself! As s/he gets older, you can graduate to a knitting needle and take on more challenging projects but for now, have fun with finger knitting!