Alvin Tresselt ~ Yaroslava
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1964
Based on a Ukrainian folktale, this story of losing a mitten, the snow surrounding it, and a mess of cuddly creatures is timeless and popular, most famously adapted by Jan Brett. A complete 180 degrees from Brett's version which is lush and detailed, here the style is decidedly stark and Scandinavian with text retold by the author of the Caldecott award-winning White Snow, Bright Snow.
All morning the boy worked, picking up sticks, until his sled was well loaded. Then a very strange thing happened. Just as he picked up the last stick he dropped one of his mittens in the snow. Now, how a boy could do this on the coldest day of winter I'll never know, but that's the way my grandfather tells the story. Off he went with his load of wood, and the mitten was left lying on a snowdrift.
For those who don't know the story, one by one some animals come upon the lost mitten and decide to, one by one, stuff into it to keep warm. As one might imagine for the frog, the mouse and the owl, stuffing in was no big deal. But when the bear, the boar and the wolf come along, things get a bit crowded. My son always appreciates the "explosive" ending... but that's for you to read for yourself.
I keep coming back to get an eyeful of that adorable hat and red coat combo.