Annabelle lives in a cold little town surrounded by snow and black chimney soot. One day she discovers a box most knitters could only dream of finding. In it, yarn of every color.
Naturally, she takes the box home and knits herself a sweater. It’s a pretty stockinette creation in oranges and reds with a few spots of green, and it suits her perfectly.
She still has extra yarn left, so she knits a sweater for her dog Mars. But guess what? She still has extra yarn left. So she goes outside for a walk, bringing her magical box of yarn with her.
There she meets a boy named Nate who sneeringly makes fun of her sweater. So what does she do? Throw a snowball at him, or call him nasty names? No. Quite naturally, she knits him and his dog sweaters—and they are happy.
And so we follow Annabelle and her magical box of yarn through town. Everywhere she goes, everyone she meets—even the grumpy teacher Mr. Norman—becomes the fortunate recipient of a knitted sweater. Still, she has more yarn left.
Having clothed everyone in her little town, Annabelle begins knitting sweaters for things too. Mailboxes and birdhouses and all the buildings are suddenly colorful and soft. Never mind that it’s no bigger than a lunchbox, Annabelle’s magic box of yarn never runs out.
When an Archduke sails into town and offers her untold fortunes for that magical box, being the wise knitter that she is, Annabelle says no.
What happens next? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
It’s a sweet story that rings true. Every knitter can relate to Annabelle’s desire to adorn those around her. The sincerity and quiet, capable confidence with which she does it is charming and inspiring. Non-knitters will enjoy the story for its sweetness, innocence, and perfect touch of magic realism.
Mac Barnett writes with skilled restraint, choosing only words that tell the story and avoiding those that would get in the way. Jon Klassen’s moody yet charming illustrations perfectly evoke the spirit of a town slowly coming back to life.