The Mitten : A Ukrainian Folktale

  • Author / Illustrator: Jan Brett
  • Folktale
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (4-8 yrs.)

2007 National Education Association – “Educators’ Top One Hundred Children’s Books
1999 National Teachers Association Top Ten Titles for Elementary Students
ALA, Booklist Magazine Best Children’s Books of the 1980s
1989 New Yorker Magazine Best Children’s Books

Summary: Niki wants pure white mittens, but his Baba is sure he will lose them when outside playing. Baba knits the mittens for Niki and warns him not to lose them. However, the first time out he immediately loses them, but is unaware of that. As Niki disturbs the animals from their winter activities the head off and come across the mitten. Each animal wants to enter into the warmth of the mitten. Each time the inhabitants say there is not enough room for the newcomer, but each one still pushes in until the smallest mouse arrives. A nose is tickled, a gaint sneeze and everyone is tumbled out of the mitten. Niki notices his lose at this same point and seeing the mitten recovers it. Upon returning home, Baba wonders at the change in the mitten.

Theme: straw that broke the camel’s back

Questions: prediction while reading -

  1. Which animal do you think will come to the mitten next?
  2. How will Baba know Niki is safe?

Extension Activities:

  1. retelling activities – masks, finger puppets, flannel board, dramatic play- as retelling crawl under a blanket or sheet that represents mitten or this paper bag puppet from Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten.
  2. site for expansion ideas across the curriculum – http://www.teachingheart.net/mitten.html
  3. Work with the verbs used in the story – change them – how does that change the story
  4. Take an indoor/outdoor thermometer and place in the freezer. At activity time place the thermometer inside a mitten, read a little of the story, then have a child place their hand inside the mitten over the thermometer. Read a few more pages then check to see what has happened. Great science on reading a thermometer and why the animals would enter a mitten or why we wear mittens for warmth.

Comment: Brett uses the frame of each page to allow the readers to see even more into the story. Notice details within the illustrations. Realistic illustrations with delightful expressions on the animals.

Personal/ PB

Published in: Folktale on July 9, 2011 at9:40 pm Comments (0)
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