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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Mitten
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2003
As a preschool teacher and a parent, I prefer the Tresselt version of this story. In Brett's version, the animals in the mitten each let the next one enter out of fear. I think this can be a dangerous lesson to teach young children. Tresselt's animals let each other in because they want to help them when they see them suffering from cold. I think it conveys more positive and humane values, and it also told with gentle wit and wisdom.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2002
I bought this a few years ago on the strength of all the good reviews on amazon.com, but my toddler/pre-school daughter never really liked the book much, and the illustrations never grabbed her. This year I bought the Jan Brett Christmas Treasury--a collection of her winter and Christmas stories--even though I was sorry that The Mitten was a duplicate. Then I discovered what a difference the format makes! The illustrations on 11 x 11-inch pages are eye-popping and reveal the story so much better. And what the description here doesn't tell you is that the text in the board book is *abridged,* which simplifies the story line to a bare minimum and doesn't connect the illustrations together as well. Spring for the hardbound full-size or used paperback full-size, or spend not much more for the many books in the Christmas Treasury and you'll get a better read for your money!
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on March 25, 2011
As American Library Association, Booklist Magazine Best Children's Books of the 1980s and New Yorker Magazine Best Children's Books 1989, The Mitten continues to delight the young and the young at heart worldwide with its story, which is based on an ancient, popular Ukrainian classic folktale, and continues to be handed down generation to generation not only in Ukraine, but also worldwide. This handsome 1989 coffee-table edition with delightful illustrations by acclaimed, award-winning illustrator Jan Brett is an artistic adaptation which depicts not only the distinctive Ukrainian colorful costumes and artistic motifs, but also adheres to the Ukrainian spirit by utilizing text which Ukrainian characters would speak. This edition of The Mitten places the reader in a uniquely Ukrainian environ while retelling the enchanting, enthralling, enjoyable tale to today's toddlers, who are sure to enjoy it as much as toddlers did in days of yore.

Recommended for ages 4-8, The Mitten is a picture book based on a favorite Ukrainian folktale, a classic children's story handed down through the generations, which teaches about friendship and sharing. This Ukrainian folktale is so popular, in fact, that not only various versions of the book are sold, but finger puppets, and interactive CD-ROMs are also available.

In this adaptation by Jan Brett, the mitten's owner is a young Ukrainian boy named Nicki who asks his grandmother, Baba, to make him a pair of white mittens. At first his Baba is reluctant to knit them in white since she says that if dropped on snow, they'll be difficult to find. But Nicki persists, and eventually his Baba knits him a pair of warm, white mittens. Not long after, while playing, Nicki inadvertently leaves behind one of his warm, white mittens.

The first animal to discover the warmth of the white mitten is a mole, followed by a snowshoe rabbit, then a hedgehog, an owl, a badger, a fox, and a meadow mouse, who makes herself comfortable atop the big bear's nose. The bear, tickled by the whiskers of the minute mouse, gives a stupendous sneeze, which sends the warm, white mitten together with all of its occupants into the sky, scattering the animals helter-skelter.

Returning home, Nicki sees in the distance a snow-white shape, which is his lost mitten silhouetted against the sky. As he runs to it and catches his mitten, he notices Baba's face in the window. She's pleased that he's safe and sound and that he still has his warm, white mittens. A fun part of reading this story is that a mitten shape appears on each page and within that mitten is a prelude of what will ensue in the tale, making the story simple to follow. Sundry variations of this story abound as authors retell the tale of the mitten with animals and storylines that vary with each retelling.

This 1989 excellent edition published by G. P. Putnam's Sons is very aptly adapted and interestingly illustrated by Jan Brett, a best-selling American author/illustrator of children's books. Among her many awards, Ms. Brett is recipient of the Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books of 2010 and Boston Public Library's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, and her books have been chosen as "Best Children's Books of the Year" by The New Yorker, Parents magazine, Newsweek, and Redbook and have appeared on numerous Best Seller Lists. Anyone opening the cover of The Mitten will undoubtedly understand why Jan Brett has received the awards and her books continue to be so very popular with the public. In fact, The Mitten, is among her four best-known titles, which include The Hat, The Three Snow Bears, and Gingerbread Baby.

The front and back jacket art by Jan Brett depicts the characters from the folktale. A special touch throughout is the mitten which appears on each page and within that mitten are depictions of ensuing dialogue from The Mitten.

A very hearty five stars plus for a handsome coffee-table edition picture book which is illustrated artistically and delivers the ethnicity of Ukrainian folklore excellently. The Mitten is sure to be a continued favorite of not only the toddler, but also adults who are young at heart, as well.

Addendum: Children may enjoy other books on Ukrainian topics, which I've reviewed--many of them have images taken by me in Ukraine. There are currently over twenty books listed on my Listmania list entitled, "Children's Corner--for the Young and the Young at Heart..." Sometimes, there are several editions of one book, so be sure to find the ones with a review by Mandrivnyk.

To learn more about things Ukrainian, visit the Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Readers, you're also invited to visit each of my reviews--most of them have photos (with notes) that I took in Ukraine (over 600)--you'll learn lots about Ukraine and Ukrainians. The image gallery shows smaller photos, which are out of sequence. The preferable way is to see each review through my profile page since photos that are germane to that particular book/VHS/DVD are posted there with notes and are in sequential order.

To visit my reviews on the USA site: click on my pseudonym, Mandrivnyk, to get to my profile page; click on the tab called review; scroll to the bottom of the section, and click on see all reviews; click on each title, and on the left-hand side, click on see all images. The thumbnail images at the top of the page show whether photos have notes; roll your mouse over the image to find notes posted. Also, you're invited to visit my Listmania lists, which have materials sorted by subject.

Additionally, both kids and adults will find it to be enjoyable and educational to learn the names and locations of the regions/oblasts of Ukraine and test their knowledge by solving the Interactive Puzzle map. Please see my comment below this review on the USA site for further information.

Moreover, to view excellent slideshows of the 25 regions (24 oblasts and one autonomous republic) of Ukraine (you may even set the length of the slideshow), please see my comment below this review on the USA site.
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on September 9, 2003
Jan Brett has some of the most beautifully illustrated books around. This is no exception.
Nikki is a boy who convinces Baba to knit him some mittens that are as white as snow. Baba warns him that white mittens are very easy to lose. Baba is right.
Nikki goes out to play and almost immediately drops one of the mittens. This is where the two stories come in. The main story is told in the large illustrations on each page as a series of animals squeeze themselves into the mitten. In the borders of each page, we see Nikki as he plays and ultimately disturbs each of the animals so that they leave their homes and eventually find the mitten.
The stories cross as a sneeze blasts the animals out of the mitten and we see Nikki retrieve it in the main illustrations while the borders show the animals returning to their homes. Baba sees Nikki reach up and catch the mitten as it drops from the sky, but she is puzzled when she sees that one mitten is now much larger than the other.
Absolutely beautiful illustrations. A simple story but full of fun as we see how each of the animals enters the story.
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on March 15, 2003
The story of the Mitten begins when a boy named Nicki begs Baba to sew him white, wool mittens. After she finished, the boy went to play with them. Baba said that when he got home, she would check to see if he was alright, then see if he still had the new mittens. Soon, Nicki dropped one of his mittens and lost it. Many different animals found the mitten to be a good place to rest. At the end, Nicki finds his mitten and returns home. The only thing, is that one mitten is four times bigger then the other.
I really enjoyed the book, The Mitten. It was always may favorite when I was a young child. The story really kept my attention, and I could follow it very easily. I liked all the different types of animals. I though the story was very good, and I'm sure you would too.
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on June 14, 2002
I was looking for ways to introduce our family's Ukrainian heritage to my son (now 18 months). I was very pleasantly surprised to come across this book. It shows both the young boy and his grandmother in traditional Ukrainian dress. They even call the grandmother Baba (the Ukrainian word for grandmother). But even beyond the Ukrainian stuff, this book is excellent. The illustrations are beautiful. There are small inset illustrations that tell more background of the story along with the larger, main pictures. So this book is both a picture book and a story book in one. My son loves to look at the animals and all but shrieks with laughter whenever we act out the big sneeze that shoots them all out of the mitten. I'm sure this book will be a treasure in our home for years to come!
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on February 4, 2004
My 18-month-old sons love this book. I have to read this one to them over and over ~~ they love the bright colorful pictures. They love hearing about the animals. And I love reading it to them. It's fun and pleasurable on the eyes as well.
Nicki wants a pair of white mittens and his Baba agrees to make it for him. However, he loses one and a mole decided to rest in the white mitten lying on the snow. He soon is joined by a rabbit, a fox, hedgehog, badger, owl, a bear and a tiny mouse. It's hilarious to imagine all of them in one tiny little mitten ~~ and so fun to read too!
I recommend Brett's books for everyone. She's a wonderful story-teller and her art is beautifully-illustrated. She is an example of how children's books should be!
2-4-04
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on April 25, 2000
Currently my children's favorite book, The Mitten scores on several levels. First, the art is wonderful. Seven or eight animals are pictured in the book (and very well drawn) which makes it a visual feast. Each two page spread also includes two smaller "summary" and "foreshadowing" pictures that relate to the previous and following page. It makes for a spread that has a lot of possibilities for young pre-readers in terms of connecting the story and describing what each character has done and will be doing. The tale itself is whimsical and amuses the pre-school set. A fine children's book.
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on January 4, 1998
Jan Brett's beautiful and intricately detailed illustrations bring this Ukranian folk tale to life! In the story, a young boy drops a white mitten in the snow. One by one, various animals squeeze into the warm mitten to keep warm, and every time, the mitten stretches even more. Finally, a small animal moves in, and causes another animal to sneeze, sending the entire group flying from the mitten! Later, Nikki finds his mitten, and hurries home to his grandma, whose expression is the best, as she looks at the stretched mitten! Wonderful story, but evern more wonderful illustrations!
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on March 12, 2002
The Mitten Book Review

The Mitten is a good book .In the book, a boy gets a pair of mittens that his Grandmother made for him. When he went outside he dropped a mitten, but he did not know it. My favorite part is when the bear sneezed and the animals flew. The Mitten is by Jan Brett.
I learned that you should keep track of your stuff. One of my favorite parts when his grandmother gives him the mittens. One more part I like is he's coming home and his grandmother looks at him. If you like good books you'll like this book.

By George
...
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