Extra Yarn

Saturday. Burbank. Unwind Yarn. A genius author/artist combo in my neighborhood? One that I have proclaimed love for on multiple occasions? It was perfect.

{Cake pops wrapped in yarn. Adorable!}

And the dynamic duo: illustrator Jon Klassen, and author Mac Barnett.

{I have been to Mac’s website plenty of times, and only now realize the dapper man holding up the piano is HIM. Click over, am I right??}

I even met my Twitter buddy, Alyson Beecher!

…And heard Mac read Extra Yarn to the crowd. I mean, wow…his own words in his own voice…magical, really.

So…what the heck is up with this awesome book?

On a cold afternoon, in a cold little town,

where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow

or the black soot from chimneys,

Annabelle found a box filled with yarn of every color.

And she goes knit-crazy, wrapping her town with the color and warmth of this magic yarn. Remember the knit covered house in the picture above? Yeah. That happens.

I tried SO HARD to keep my cool while talking to Jon Klassen about design, really I did. He explained to me his reasonings for using white space and the puzzle of leaving room for the reader to create their own stories in the space left behind by both the words AND the pictures. We talked about texture and trailers and the differences in animating for the screen and designing for the book page. I managed to not faint and fall in it, thank-you-very-much. It was unreal.

But a notable design consideration in Extra Yarn is of course, color. Annabelle’s creations bring life to a drab, cold town.

Jon told us that he bought a $5 sweater from Goodwill, photographed it over a light table, and digitally colored over the photo-real stitches to get the look of the knits in Extra Yarn. Straight from the illustrator’s mouth: “Everything else I tried just looked stupid.”

Recognize that bear?

The archduke: the bad guy, out to get Annabelle’s yarn. Hearing Mac’s voice for the archduke? Also amazing.

What a day, what an event, what a book. See that?

Want it? Your own author AND illustrator signed copy of Extra Yarn?


Leave a comment here by Sunday, April 22 at midnight PST to win it! I’ll announce a winner on Monday, April 23rd. Good luck!


  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I love this book. I read it to my daughter’s preschool class last week and it was magical…they all repeated “extra yarn” on cue. No need to enter me in the drawing, I already own TWO copies. I just wanted to say how LUCKY you were to see the dynamic duo in person!

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Ha, fun! I was a giddy little girl, that’s for sure:)

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Oh heck, I’m giddy over the post, Carter :~D
    But to be you . . . to be there . . . OMGoodness!!!

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Thank you for introducing me with them, I loved so much, I noted to my book list, I will order soon. Thank you, with my love, nia

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    You’re so welcome!!

  • Anna
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    SQUEEE!!!! You lucky girl, you! I am totally jealous that you got to experience that.

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I tried to keep cool, really, I did…but I just wanted to scream and jig!!

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Very cool! I’m mostly a lurker on your blog, but I love your gorgeous posts. So inspiring.

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Likewise, Hannah! I love your craftiness:)

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Carter! What fun! I’m glad youhad such a great time with this book. And thanks for sharing the experience. And I love that I get a peek into these books from you. Very helpful. And thanks for the generous giveaway!!

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    And thank YOU for the tweet tweets:)

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh man! What a pair! You got to see them read the book AND talk about creative process. *die* I cannot WAIT to get my hands on that book. (Pretty, please/fingers crossed- I hope I win)

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    You could watch those two for hours. It was seriously a master class in awesome.

  • Virginia Rinkel
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Hey, this is so cool!!! I once hand dyed oodles of different yarns, earth shades of green, brown, gold, yellow, rust and more colors to look like chestnut burs for a festival. Made them look like real chestnut burs, except mine were “easy to touch”. The real nuts that form inside those “steel porcupine needle balls”every fall, will take you three pair of gloves to handle , but inside that bur, is sheer velvet, holding about 3 mature chestnuts inside. And don’t mistake horse chestnuts for edible chestnuts. The easy way to tell them apart – just look for the white tail on the edibles, and, remember, “No tail, no eat” – that’s a horse chestnut (w/o tail), and it will make you sick. I’m working on a book about chestnuts – and I NEED this “Extra Yarn” book with the $5 sweater over a light table idea – that is SO COOL and I can relate…. I once glued real straw to a board, carefully loaded black paint on a toothbrush, flipped it on the straw, and did a rolling pin once over (with Arches watercolor paper in-between) to make my horizon ground paper for a book on goats, dogs and ponys. I feel this book would really keep me ‘kindled’ for my new chestnut venture!

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    This is a great book. I read it last week to my children. I think our library is anticipating high demand for this book — there were a half dozen copies on the “New Books” shelf just waiting to jump into the bags of library families!

    I loved reading about your experience meeting the “Dynamic Duo”.

  • tinamcho
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    How awesome that you met Mac & John and even had a discussion on illustration! Fun!

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Lucky, lucky you!! This is a brilliant book that my boys and I thoroughly enjoyed. I was wondering how he managed to make that yarn look so good, thank you for clearing that up. Congratulations on not fainting or falling!

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    That is so cool! Thank you for sharing. I need to go find this book!

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    What a cool idea for a story, and I love that the knit graphics are actual photographs of a sweater! Reminds me of the “knitting tagging” people were doing in Austin a few years ago… As someone who knits in front of the computer to get through writer’s block, I think I’ll fall in love with this one!

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I wondered how Jon got the knit look so real. Genius.

    This book is sooooo beautiful. All the best of a 50’s classic deisgn combined with modern sensibilities. Caldecott Honor book at least, I hope.

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    These illustrations should make sheep swoon.

    I would have been a bit breathless, I think, so congrats on keeping your cool. Loved learning about the behind the scenes creation of this gorgeous book!

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Ha, sheep swoon!

  • Audrey
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Carter…this looks like such an awesome book! I’ve been adding books from your blog to a list for Cora’s library! I’m thinking you should just come over and we’ll go book shopping together.

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh Chiggy, pick me! Hudson needs a new read! :)

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Carter, I was going to comment saying I’m glad you made it to this event and wish I could’ve been there. Then, I saw your giveaway. Bonus! This is such a beautiful book. Instant favorite. Cheers.

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Bonus is right! We will certainly have to meet up at a book par-tay sometime.

  • Posted April 18, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Yes. I’d certainly enjoy that!

  • Stacy S. Jensen
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    What a fun event! Looks like a wonderful book and love the information on he did this.

  • Tasha Tahvonen
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Carter, this book looks awesome! I love hearing about new books! There are so many people with whom I want to share this book–all my teacher friends at school, especially the art teacher because she has a knitting & crochet club, my aunt–a knitter and teacher, my co-workers at my soon-to-be new job–Children’s Literacy Initiative, and especially my two little girls! And Jon Klassen as illustrator–fantastic! We have “I Want My Hat Back” we love!

  • Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I love books where a girl conquers with subtle creativity! And how Jon’s mind works when looking for solutions – gotta keep trying, even weird things! Thanks for sharing Carter.

  • Posted April 18, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful experience! I’ve had my eye on this book for a while now — and now I’m totally sold, especially since BEAR (and his forest friends) make an appearance. So great to hear the behind-the-scenes stories. Thanks for this post!

  • Christie Wright Wild
    Posted April 18, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Wow! What a great giveaway. Thanks for the chance! I’d love a copy! I just read it a few weeks ago. And actually “reviewed” it on my blog. Thanks again. Hope I win…

  • Posted April 18, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Wow, wow, WOW! Yes, yes, YES I want a copy! What an awesome experience, and I’m so glad you got to meet Jon Klassen. I know you said you really wanted to.

  • Posted April 20, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I love, love, love this book. My kids love it too.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Your seester
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    love! so would my kiddos!! (can family members be entered into the drawing?)

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